NYC Pension Approves Hiring Adviser to Weigh Climate Change Risk

  • $55 billion civil employee fund is one of five city pensions
  • NYC Mayor de Blasio wants pensions to sell coal company stock

New York City’s $55 billion civil-employees’ pension approved hiring a consultant to evaluate the risk climate change poses to its investments, seeking to avoid losses that could result from the ripple effects of rising temperatures.

The retirement systems’ board on Tuesday also directed the Bureau of Asset Management in the Comptroller’s office to measure and disclose the “carbon footprint” of the portfolio, according to the text of a resolution approved by trustees.

“A four degree increase will affect emerging markets, real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, timber, most asset classes -- and will affect most countries in this world -- in negative ways,” said Larry Schimmel, who represents New York City Public Advocate Tish James on the board of the civil employees’ fund. New York City has five public pension funds with assets totaling about $164 billion as of July 31.

A study released Oct. 21 and co-authored by economists at Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley estimated that average global incomes would be reduced by about 23 percent by 2100 if warming continues unchecked.

Last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called for all five of the city’s pension funds to sell about $33 million of investments in coal companies. The mayor, a Democrat, has set a goal for the city to reduce total carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030.

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