Off Target on Fossil Fuels

The Story

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer have announced plans to “de-carbonize” the city’s pensions by divesting from fossil-fuel companies. But so-called socially responsible investing comes with many costs of its own. A pension fund’s primary responsibility is fiduciary; it does not exist to help politicians express their moral outrage.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Frivolous: New York is also planning to sue the oil industry for causing climate change, though fossil fuels are in use everywhere and are fundamental to modern society. Read more.

  2. Funding: New York City’s pension plans are significantly underfunded. Read more.

  3. Change: New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has refused calls to divest from fossil fuels, arguing that investors can make these determinations more effectively. Read more.

“Even under the most optimistic scenarios, it will be decades before countries can end their reliance on fossil fuels, so the demand for them, and the profits they generate, will attract investors around the world.”

Steven Malanga, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

“While campus divestment groups have recently made sizable gains by convincing fifteen universities, including Stanford, to divest from fossil fuel companies, divestment has the unintended consequence of hurting both students and the environment.”

And in other news...

“It’s no secret that labor unions have significant influence over city politics in the de Blasio era, but one union in particular was given rein to write and edit legislation that could potentially swell its ranks by more than a thousand members.”