California Public Employees

California Public Employees' Retirement System Adds $50 Billion to Climate Investment by 2030

CalPERS’ announcement received a mixed response, with some calling for full divestment.

On Nov. 13, 2023, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced a proposal to amplify climate investments by over $50 billion by 2030, sparking a mixed response.

According to a release dated Nov. 13, CalPERS’ overall plans commits a total of $100 billion to climate solutions by 2030. Currently, the organization has approximately $47 billion in low-carbon assets, thereby doubling this amount. The Sustainable Investments 2030 Strategy includes an actionable set of steps intended to cut carbon emissions of CalPERS’ investments in half. However, many continue to advocate for complete divestment from fossil fuel companies.

“Disadvantaged communities across our state that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution, battling every day with high rates of asthma, cancer, birth defects and chronic illnesses, cannot afford to wait,” Senator Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach, California, said in a statement. “We have the opportunity, responsibility and capability to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable economy in California now. We simply need to heed the call of the CalPERS members who have already called for divestment, as it's the pivotal solution we need and the right thing to do.”

California Faculty Association President Dr. Charles Toombs, Fossil Free California Executive Director Miriam Eide and Fatima Iqbal-Zubair—legislative affairs manager of California Environmental Voters—voiced their support of Senator Gonzalez’s fossil fuel divestment bill, Senate Bill 252, as the debate continues about the scope and efficiency of CalPERS’ plan.

The CalPERS Board manages the retirement savings of more than 2 million California workers. CalPERS confirmed its intention to continue encouraging oil and gas companies to adopt climate-friendly policies, and this new proposal indicates the development of new guidance to perhaps “sell off piecemeal investments in companies with no plan to address emissions.”

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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