As a part of the response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued an executive order that called upon the municipal pension funds to be divested from fossil fuels by 2030. This week, experts announced just how much they estimated the city could stand to lose from such a move, and announced the amount to be $500,000 annually.
The researchers also noted that the losses that Pittsburgh would suffer would have only symbolic effect on the companies they divested from:
“It’s purely a symbolic move that has no impact on the climate,” said Chris Fiore of the Chicago-based economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon.
Paul Leger, the city’s Finance Director, revealed just why it is so hard to shed energy assets for entities like the municipal pension funds:
Much of the city’s pension assets are in mutual funds that include a range of investments. Most of the funds require investors to invest in them as is — all or nothing. “We would have to go through each of those and identify where the (fossil fuel) investments are within each of the mutual funds and then go out and find replacement funds,” Leger said (…)
The announcement comes at a time when the health of the city’s pension fund is at stake:
Pittsburgh has about 59 percent of the cash value in retirement accounts needed to meet an estimated $1.2 billion in obligations for current and future retirees.
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