Will New York State Divest From Big Oil?

New York State officials are poised to decide whether to sell off more than $1 billion in investments in major oil companies, in what could be one of the most consequential steps by a large institution to divest from fossil fuels. With an announcement expected within weeks, some climate activists are calling on the manager of the state’s largest pension fund to blacklist ExxonMobil, Chevron and other leading oil companies from its portfolio.

The move will be the most important in a multi-year review by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who manages the state’s Common Retirement Fund, one of the country’s largest public pension funds. In December 2020, DiNapoli said his office would launch a sector-by-sector assessment of its fossil fuel holdings and divest from those that failed to meet “minimum standards” for climate-related risks. The fund has already restricted investments in a range of coal firms and smaller, independent oil companies, while continuing to hold shares in others that met certain standards.