The Massachusetts public pension system — with $61 billion — has been refusing for years to look at the question of fossil fuel divestment on the grounds that selling fossil fuel stock would be a violation of fiduciary duty. Now it turns out that by hanging on to oil, coal, and gas they have managed to lose $521 million in just twelve months. That’s $10 million a week — down the drain. My estimates are that each member of the system has about $300,000 backing up his or her retirement in which case this loss equals the total retirement funds of 1,400 workers.
I spoke this morning to the investment staff at the pension system, and they could not say whether they have ever given the question of climate risk a moment’s thought. Now THAT is a breakdown of fiduciary duty.