The man who once said the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely melted – in 2013 – is at it again.
This time, Al Gore thinks he can solve the problem of climate change, by taking your public pension money out of oil and gas stocks.
At Harvard University, he bragged that he’d “spent a lot of time in the investment community.” “I would dearly love,” he said, for Harvard to “lead the way” in divesting fossil fuel stocks. (YouTube)
Al Gore isn’t alone: all over the country, anti-fossil fuel activists are urging municipal and state governments and major universities to “divest” their oil and gas stocks.
But what would that cost the workers who depend on those pensions — teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel? How would Gore’s scheme affect them?
To find out, Professor Daniel R. Fischel, former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School did a 50-year retrospective analysis of 11 of America’s largest public pension funds.
The study concluded that by selling off oil, gas and other fossil fuel stocks, pension managers would be excluding one of the most important (and lucrative) sectors of the economy and severely limiting the fund’s diversification – in other words, limiting the range of investments that will yield the greatest return over time.
Based on 50 years of analysis, Professor Fischel calculated that pension funds could lose up to 23 percent in value over a 50-year period.
Already, as the study notes, many public pension funds are currently deeply underfunded: the largest 100 public pensions are funded below 70 percent, and total unfunded liabilities are approximately $1.25 trillion.
Given this situation, anything that reduces expected returns on pension investments – like selling off oil and gas stocks to make a political point – would directly harm pension beneficiaries and increase the likelihood of taxpayer bailouts.
You can read the full study HERE.