City of Syracuse supports movement to divest pension system from fossil fuel companies

May 9, 2019

The city of Syracuse is joining a movement calling on New York state to divest $13 billion from its public pension fund currently invested in fossil fuel companies.

Specifically, a majority of Syracuse Common Councilors want State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is in charge of the state’s $200 billion retirement fund, to divest the largest 200 fossil fuel companies from the state’s portfolio over the next five years. Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll said it’s a win-win proposition.

"It makes economic sense. These stocks are outperforming," said Driscoll. "It makes moral sense, and most importantly, it’s in the long term interest of our species and the planet as a whole to take steps towards a more sustainable society."

Syracuse is following the lead of 1,000 other governments and institutions, including New York City, that are supporting fossil fuel divestment.

DiNapoli has said he has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the greatest return for pensioners, and also believes the state’s status as a large shareholder can force oil, gas and coal companies into climate friendly initiatives.