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Dani Heffernan,’s Statement About Alaska Permanent Fund Exiting Fossil Fuels

USA’s largest sovereign fund, built on oil money, moves away from oil investments

OAKLAND, Calif. - Documents released yesterday revealed that the $65 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, the USA’s largest sovereign fund that was built on oil revenues, has drastically reduced their investments in fossil fuel companies. The documents were shared with the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and retired University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner. Investments in fossil fuel companies have dropped precipitously from over $3 billion or more than 7.5% in 2011 to less than $1.7 billion or less than 2.8% of the fund in 2017. Further, the fund’s chair admitted that “... the Fund may not be invested in such companies five to ten years from now”, a radical departure from the fund’s creation.

“When even the USA’s largest sovereign fund, built on oil money, is rapidly reducing its exposure to risky oil companies, there is no excuse to stay invested in the past,” said Executive Director May Boeve. “This is further proof that the future is fossil free - wise investment managers recognize the financial risk in coal, oil and gas companies and are heading to the exits. For sake of our planet and for our pensions, divestment is the logical next step.”


Last November, oil and gas markets around the world were shaken by the announcement the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norges Bank Investment Management, intended to divest from oil and gas companies, to reduce risk to its assets. On the news, stocks in the largest oil companies such as Eni SpA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc dropped.


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In January, the mayor and comptroller of New York City announced their intention to divest one of  the country’s largest groups of funds, New York City’s 190 billion pension funds, from fossil fuel companies within 5 years. At the time City Comptroller Scott Stringer stated: “Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers, firefighters and city workers is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet. Our announcement sends a message to the world that a brighter economy rests on being green.”


The Alaska Permanent Fund reduction in their fossil fuel investments demonstrates a wider trend. May Boeve added, “For the hundreds of institutions and pension funds in the USA still invested in fossil fuel companies, it’s time to read the writing on the wall. It’s time to go Fossil Free.” More than 880 institutions with assets valued over $6.1 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels.


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