Solomon proposing Jersey City Council measure asking pension funds to end fossil fuel investments

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Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon is proposing a resolution for the city council asking state and local pension funds to end their investments into fossil fuels.

Photo courtesy of Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon’s office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“As a state and a city that knows climate change’s ravages first hand, New Jersey and Jersey City should be leaders on fossil fuel divestment. The time for half measures on climate is over,” Solomon said in a statement.

“The state should sell their current investments in fossil fuels. Rules should be established to prevent any future investment in corporations that poison the earth.”

The measure, which was prepared in partnering with Divest NJ, will call for the New Jersey State Legislature, the New Jersey State Investment Council, and the Pension Committee for the Employees’ Retirement System of Jersey City to divest from current fossil fuel investments and ban future investments in corporations who profit off climate pollution.

“Fossil fuel investments threaten the profitability of the New Jersey State Pension Fund and increasingly threaten the very existence of humanity. The best institutional investors today state that climate risk is investment risk,” added Divest NJ Co-Chair Tina Weishaus.

“We need the State Pension Fund to be preparing to move into a low carbon global economy and say good-bye to fossil fuel investments for the health of our pension and the health of our planet.”

According to Solomon’s office, an initial analysis of investments in Jersey City’s current pension fund reveals investments in fossil fuels only through “index funds” that invest in all stocks within a given market.

However, both New Jersey and Jersey City’s funds require a full asset allocation analysis to understand the funds true exposure to fossil fuels.

Moreover, neither fund has rules in place to prevent future investments in fossil fuels. Those rules could be established by state legislation or action by the New Jersey State Investment Council.

Furthermore, the resolution received support from the Jersey City’s Environmental Commission (JCEC).

“The JCEC also strongly supports the recommendations made to the State Investment Council and the Division of Investment, which oversees PERS,” they said.

“As stated in the resolution, the Municipal Council urges the aforementioned entities to commit to a Climate Action Plan that includes the divestment of all fossil fuel investment as soon as possible. The continued burning of fossil fuels will affect air pollution, food production, and the emergence and spread of human infectious diseases.”

The Jersey City Council will have a caucus session at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 26th and then their regular session at 6p.m. on Wednesday, April 28th.

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