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Calif. pension fund divests from coal despite industry recovery

The California Public Employees' Retirement System has divested nearly all its coal stocks despite the recent rebound seen in the industry, The Sacramento Bee reported Aug. 7.

The divestiture was a result of a 2015 law, which required the CalPERS Board of Administration to "identify, engage, and potentially divest" from thermal coal companies in its public asset investment universe and eventually divest all applicable holdings by July 1, according to the agency's report.

Although CalPERS does not disclose when it sells stocks, a spokeswoman told the newspaper that the agency sold the last of its Peabody Energy Corp. shares earlier this year.

In 2015, the agency divested shares that were worth $14.7 million from 14 coal companies, while it kept its stake in three coal companies that indicated investment plans in renewable energy, including Adaro Energy, Banpu PCL and Exxaro Resources Ltd.

CalPERS' stake in those companies totaled $11.2 million, the report said.

The law was considered a stand against fossil companies that contribute to global warming, as well as a reflection that "coal is a losing bet for California retirees," the report quoted California Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León as saying when the bill was passed in October 2015.