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'Critical First Step': Bill de Blasio Pushes NYC Coal Divestment

Mayor to ask five pension funds to consider pulling at least $33 million from thermal coal industry

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has signaled he will call for and support the divestment of coal and possible other fossil fuels from the city's pension fund. (Photo: Reuters)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is poised to urge the city's five pension funds to divest from coal, which could move at least $33 million away from the fossil fuel industry, officials said Tuesday.

The measure is being supported by NYC comptroller Scott Stringer, who is custodian to the pension funds' boards and has endorsed climate-friendly city policies in the past. De Blasio's push comes just ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Paris in December, and just after an analysis by a philanthropic consultant group found that institutions worth $2.6 trillion in assets have pulled funds from fossil fuels.

May Boeve, executive director of the environmental advocacy group 350.org, said de Blasio's announcement "is another big step adding even more momentum to this campaign."

"We expect to see other municipal leaders around the world take note of the Mayor's words today, and join New York in acknowledging the financial and moral imperative to divest from climate chaos," Boeve said.

De Blasio is also expected to ask the pension funds to consider divesting from other fossil fuels.

"In the final months before crucial climate talks in Paris, wins like these send a clear message to world leaders that people across our society are clamoring for real, ambitious leadership on climate change," Boeve said.

350 NYC Steering Committee member Mark Dunlea added, "We appreciate Mayor de Blasio calling for a critical first step to divest the city's pension funds from fossil fuels, starting with coal and a study on the rest. We hope that our other elected officials will stand with him to help protect our city and our future from the risks of climate change. We look forward to a fossil free future."

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