Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release


Lindsay Meiman,

Press Release

New York State’s Pension Fund Divests from 22 Coal Companies

Advocates thank Comptroller DiNapoli, urge faster action on remaining billions of fossil fuel investment.

This week, New York State Comptroller announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund, with assets totaling more than $200 billion, has divested from nearly two dozen thermal coal companies, valued at nearly $90 million. The divestment comes after a review was initiated by the Comptroller’s office in January. Now, with strong momentum behind the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act (S.2126/A.1536), advocates believe this completed review and divestment action represents a big step forward for the pension fund.  

“This is a tangible and positive move by the Comptroller and represents a shift in his approach,” said Dominique Thomas with “There’s obviously no future in thermal coal and the Comptroller has recognized this and moved the pension fund for over 1 million New Yorkers out of this financially risky and destructive industry.”

The demand to #DivestNY’s pension funds launched the day after Superstorm Sandy devastated New York nearly eight years ago. Members of the intergenerational #DivestNY coalition have garnered significant support for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, which currently has nearly 100 sponsors across the state senate and assembly, gaining dozens of new sponsors in recent months. The Act, which is the most advanced divestment legislation in the US, directs the Comptroller, in line with his fiduciary responsibility, to divest the pension fund from all fossil fuels. 

“Comptroller DiNapoli's decision to divest NYS Pension Funds from 22 coal companies is a great first step on New York's road to protect the assets of the fund and the environment. In order to build on the progress and ensure a bright future for New Yorkers, full divestment from all fossil fuel companies is obviously the next step. The time has come to pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act,” said Assistant Speaker Félix W. Ortiz and lead Assembly sponsor of the Act.

As of the fund’s latest public disclosure, the pension had more than $12 billion invested in fossil-fuel-related companies. In recent years, these investments have severely underperformed the rest of the stock market and dragged down overall performance of the fund. The fund has more than $4 billion invested in shale and fracking companies, many of which are facing imminent bankruptcy due to heavy debt loads and unfunded environmental liabilities.

“The need for full fossil fuel divestment continues, as the fund remains very exposed to tar sands, fracking and other oil and gas companies and the clock is ticking. We see the Comptroller’s leadership move on thermal coal companies as a great stepping stone to addressing the larger problem of risky fossil fuel investments. There’s no doubt that momentum is increasing to fully DivestNY and we hope to work with the Comptroller to do so,” added Jordan Dale with 350 NJ Rockland.

To date, more than 1240 institutions globally with assets over $14 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. In recent weeks, Cornell, Vermont and George Washington Universities have announced divestment, following on the University of California completing divestment of its $85 billion pension and endowment funds. In 2018, New York City announced its commitment to divest its massive pension funds from fossil fuels, and is on track to complete this by 2023. 

Going forward, the #DivestNY coalition will continue to push for full divestment of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, particularly tar sands, fracking, oil service and pipeline companies and Arctic oil drillers, as laid out in the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act which mandates this within five years of passage into law.  


“We applaud Comptroller DiNapoli’s action on divesting from coal and look forward to similar action to reduce the risk from climate change from the rest of the pension fund,” - Mark Dunlea of PAUSE (People of Albany United for Safe Energy).

“As a beneficiary of the Common Retirement Fund, I support the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act and I am very happy to see Comptroller DiNapoli taking steps toward divestment of the fund from all fossil fuel investments. I look to Comptroller DiNapoli to be a leader in protecting pension recipients and our climate future.” - Mona Perrotti Indivisible Mohawk Valley, Co-Chair, Climate Crisis Working Group.

"Although we commend Comptroller DiNapoli's decision to divest from over 20 coal companies, we urge him to fully divest the Common Retirement Fund away from all fossil fuels. With the world now on track to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2024, my generation and future generations to come simply cannot afford any further delay." - Hridesh Singh, Executive Director for the New York Youth Climate Leaders. 

“We acknowledge Comptroller DiNapoli’s divestment from several coal companies and thank him for taking this first step in decarbonizing the CRF and protecting the retirement funds of State workers.   We remain hopeful that the Comptroller has recognized the need to divest from these risky and harmful investments and will soon follow suit with the oil and gas sector of the portfolio. “ - Dorian Fulvio, 350NYC Steering Committee member.

To view this press release online, visit:


350 is building a future that's just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis. We're an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·

West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo