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California’s public pensions are big investors in fossil fuels

California’s climate-conscious policies don’t match the investment choices of its largest public pension funds, according to a report from two environmental groups.

Among the top 14 US pension funds analyzed by and the Climate Safe Retirement Network, the California Public Retirement System, known as Calpers, and the Teachers’ Retirement System The state of California, known as CalSTRS, stands out as the biggest investors in fossil fuel companies with $27.1 billion and $15.7 billion, respectively, according to results released Wednesday.

The two combined hold about half of the group’s fossil fuel assets, according to the study. Calpers also ranked first in terms of fossil fuel holdings in total assets under management, at 6.9%.

Richard Brooks, director of climate finance at, said: “It shows me that despite their rhetoric being very active on climate issues, the evidence is in their portfolios. them and what it looks like. “To me, it seems like they are one of the biggest laggards.”

Calpers in a statement described its fossil fuel investments as one way it can support the transition to net-zero. emissions “Through active interaction.” The foundation is a founding member of Climate Action 100+, the organization that drives the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to action.

“We have seen strong results in the transformation of the largest U.S. utility companies such as Duke, AES and PPL away from coal and into energy,” said Anne Simpson, chief investment officer at Calpers. renewables in the long term”. “Divesting these companies means selling our shares to other investors, leaving us still at risk. global warming from those emissions. ”

A similar argument is made by CalSTRS, which says on its website that “it is imperative that we continue to exercise our influence with policymakers and companies — including the industry.” fossil fuel industry — to help ensure a fair, prosperous, and low-carbon world for future generations. ”

California is the world leader in reducing carbon emissions. The state is second only to Hawaii in setting a goal of generating 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. The state has also committed to phasing out the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by the middle of the next decade and taking on two actions. carbon business. programs, including a decades-old low-carbon fuel standard, that require refiners to buy credits from biofuel and other renewable fuel producers.

The report looked at investments in fossil fuel producers, oilfield service providers, fossil fuel supply facilities and others.

The New York State Teachers Retirement System has the second largest share of the fossil fuel portfolio, at 6.6%.

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