Keeping greenhouse gas emitters in check with the Paris Climate Agreement goals, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has sent letters to 10 companies within the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (NYS Common) portfolio.
“Climate risk is one of the greatest threats to the state pension fund and its long-term investments,” DiNapoli said in the letter, addressing that the transition will require “fundamental” and sometimes “disruptive” changes that could affect every investment in the fund’s portfolio.
“As a long-term investor, we want the companies in our portfolio to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, lower emissions, and a low-carbon future,” he wrote.
In the letters, DiNapoli urges Phillips 66; Xcel Energy; Valero Energy; Martin Marietta Materials; Berkshire Hathaway; Calpine; Delta Air Lines; NextEra Energy; Entergy Corp; and Southern Company to make long-term reductions to their emissions and adopt “time-bound, quantitative, company-wide” goals. The Comptroller also wants the companies to consider the reduction needs outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement, which sets to limit the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with a 1.5°C limit.
In order to meet the 2°C target, scientists estimate a 55% global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will be needed by 2050. The US needs an estimated 80% reduction to help meet these expectations.
ExxonMobil, AES, Duke Energy, and other pollutants in the fund’s portfolio are currently in engagement programs with the fund to help curb their emissions.
The letter follows DiNapoli’s Tuesday announcement in which he revealed that DTE Energy, Dominion Energy, and Southwestern Energy had agreed to detail how the effects of efforts made to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals will affect them as well as how each company can adapt to a lower carbon future. This led to NYS Common withdrawing shareholder requests it had previously made with DTE, Dominion, and Southwestern.
“Corporations need to recognize that a transition to a lower carbon economy is already underway and their future success demands adjusting to this new reality,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and engage with these companies as they report on their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”