The plan, announced by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, could accelerate a broader shift in global markets away from oil and gas companies, some experts and activists said. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third-largest public pension fund in the United States. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries.

What Happened?

The fund has committed to help curb climate change by transitioning its investments to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

This makes the fund the first in the U.S to set the goal by that date.

What this means

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the move will put the fund in a strong position for the future of a green economy mapped out in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, which has an estimated valuation of about USD $226bn, is wrapping up its evaluation of nine oil sands companies, mainly in Canada and Russia, and will develop minimum standards for investments in shale oil and gas.

“It’s a huge win, obviously, for the activists who have fought for eight years to get Albany to divest from fossil fuel companies and for the global divestment campaign,” said veteran climate campaigner and author Bill McKibben. “Endowments and portfolios worth more than USD $14 trillion have joined the fight but it also represents something else: it suggests that the once-dominant fossil fuel industry has reached a low in financial and political power.”

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