REPORT: US, Canadian Public Pension Funds Among Largest Investors in Fossil Fuels

April 20, 2023
New Investing in Climate Chaos report reveals the largest investors in coal, oil and gas companies in the world, driving climate chaos.

(April 20, 2023) A new report by Urgewald, supported by, revealed the largest investors in fossil fuel companies in the world for 2022. Beyond banks like Royal Bank and Citi and asset managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, public pension funds rank amongst the largest investors in coal, oil, and gas. This includes: the Canada Pension Plan, California’s two public pensions (CalPERS and CalSTRS), New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS), TIAA, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, the state pensions for Ohio, Colorado, Wisconsin and Oregon, and the public pension plans managed by the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation amongst others. 

“It’s shameful that public pensions, whose fiduciary duty requires a decades-long investing approach, have so much money sunk into a structurally declining industry. They are putting pensioners’, workers’, and taxpayers’ money at risk while propping up companies literally destroying the well-being of the people they are mandated to support. While a handful in the US and Canada are beginning to act, we need all to accelerate their actions and work for the people, and divest from fossil fuels,” said Amy Gray, Senior Strategist with coordinates the Climate Safe Pensions Network

This follows the latest Banking on Climate Chaos report, which ranked the world’s largest banks in terms of overall fossil fuel financing. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) topped the list for 2022, which focused on loans and underwriting to fossil fuel companies. RBC, along with other banks like JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, is also among the largest investors (share and bond holders) in fossil fuels according to this new report. 

Fossil Fuel Investments by Pension Funds

Select Public Pension Funds


Bond holdings Million USD 

Shareholdings Million USD

Total Million USD

California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) US 3,103.8 13,087.8 16,191.6
California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) US 695.4 7,290.7 7,986.1
New York State Common Retirement Fund US 1,459.9 4,807.1 6,267.1
Florida State Board of Administration (FSBA) US 389.8 5,598.0 5,987.8
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) Canada 4,714.9 4,714.9
State of Wisconsin Investment Board US 1,303.0 3,053.9 4,356.8
New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) US 517.7 2,895.9 3,413.6
Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ)* Canada 2,989.0 2,989.0
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) Canada 1,279.2 1,279.2
State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio US 1,156.3 1,156.3
The Retirement Systems of Alabama US 1,131.3 1,131.3
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System US 1,080.1 1,080.1
Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System US 1,005.7 1,005.7
Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) Canada 974.0 974.0
Teacher Retirement System of Texas US 935.0 935.0
North Carolina Retirement Systems US 785.3 785.3
Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) Canada 686.4 686.4
Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System US 632.1 632.1
Public Employees’ Retirement Association of Colorado US 608.6 608.6
Virginia Retirement System US 554.0 554.0
Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB, or PSP Investments) Canada 530.9 530.9
Oregon Public Employees Retirement System** US 509.0 509.0
Arizona State Retirement System US 505.3 505.3
Alaska Retirement Management Board US 432.2 432.2
Employees Retirement System of Texas US 328.3 328.3
Utah Retirement Systems US 318.0 318.0
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund US 316.6 316.6
Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) Canada 312.8 312.8
Maryland State Retirement & Pension System US 189.9 189.9
Kentucky Retirement Systems US 189.6 189.6
Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System US 159.2 159.2
New Mexico Educational Retirement Board US 98.2 98.2
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) Canada 88.8 88.8
OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust) Canada 15.7 15.7





* Note that CDPQ completed divestment from all but one oil producer in 2022.
** Oregon state treasury does not make readily available complete asset listings for its portfolio. As a result this amount is lower than the real exposure of the OPERS to fossil fuel companies.

186 pension funds with assets totalling over $7 trillion have made commitments to divest from fossil fuels.

In Canada and the US, several pension funds have already committed to address fossil fuel exposure with some committing to, and completing, full divestment. Full divestment commitments have been made by the New York City Employees Retirement Systems, NYC Teachers Retirement System, NYC Board of Education, District of Columbia Board, City of Chicago pensions, Baltimore pensions, Pittsburgh, San Diego, the Los Angeles Retirement System and the San Mateo County fund. The CDPQ has completed divestment from oil producers. New York State Common Retirement Fund has begun partial divestment from fossil fuels and is conducting risk analyses of its fossil fuel holdings.  

This data focuses on direct public equity and bond investments in fossil fuel companies and is sourced from financial reports of the funds and data available via Refinitiv. Many pension funds are also invested in private equity funds that own fossil fuel companies, as well as have direct ownership of private fossil fuel companies through infrastructure portfolios. Many pension funds do not readily reveal full and complete asset listings, particularly bond investments. Thus this data shows an incomplete accounting of all the fossil fuel company exposure of named pension funds.  

Advocacy campaigns across North America are pushing public pension funds to reduce their financial risk and be responsible fiduciaries by divesting from fossil fuels and investing in just and equitable climate solutions.

More than 1,560 institutions with assets totaling more than $40.5 trillion, including some of the world’s largest pension funds, have begun or completed divestment from fossil fuels according to the comprehensive Global Fossil Fuel Commitments Database, managed by


To view the full report and data, visit: 

A breakout of holdings of pension funds is available upon request.