The CalPERS Portfolio and Fossil Fuel Reserve-related CO2 Emissions

CalPERS Carbon Underground 200 Holdings 2013

This report identifies and analyzes the publicly disclosed U.S. domestic and international equity and long term debt investments held by California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) in The Carbon Underground 200 at four points in time between 2004 and 2013. Each CalPERS position was allocated a portion of the issuer’s total reserves-related potential CO2 emissions based on the extent of their holdings. These allocated reserve-based emissions are referred to as “financed emissions”. CalPERS, an investment leader, is the nation’s largest pension fund, at $300 billion dollars. The size and influence of their fund makes this portfolio a desirable choice for study.


  • CalPERS was invested in 149 of The Carbon Underground 200 companies as of June 30, 2013.
  • Financed emissions of CalPERS equity and debt holdings in The Carbon Underground 200 have nearly doubled from 2004 to 2013.
  • CalPERS CU200 portfolio has increased by all measures over the past decade, including companies held, market and book value of holdings, and CU200 share of overall equity and debt portfolio.
  • The market value of the CU200 investments represented 7.3% of CalPERS equity and corporate debt portfolio in 2013, up from 5.9% in 2004.
  • CalPERS CU200 market value is predominantly derived from oil and gas companies while coal financed emissions outweigh oil and gas financed emissions.
  • CalPERS financed emissions, overwhelmingly derived from equity investments, have shifted increasingly from domestic to international holdings over the past decade.
  • CalPERS financed emissions in the Coal CU 100 companies grew 117% from 2004 to 2013. CalPERS would rank as the 88th largest coal company globally in 2013.
  • The CalPERS portfolio showed significant declines in reported market value relative to book value in coal holdings between 2010 and 2013, with the erosion to below book highly concentrated in 9 holdings.
  • CalPERS financed emissions in the Oil and Gas CU 100 companies grew 67% from 2004 to 2013. CalPERS would rank as the 55th largest oil and gas company globally in 2013.
  • The financed CO2 emissions of CalPERS CU oil and gas portfolio is highly concentrated. Half of CalPERS CO2 emissions are derived from 4 equity positions, while 80% is in 16 positions.
  • CalPERS portfolio carbon intensity (financed emissions per market value dollar of CU200 holdings) increased 29% over the past decade. CalPERS Coal CU100 holdings in 2013 were 450% more carbon intensive than oil and gas CU100 holdings.

CalPERS Portfolio CU200 InvestmentsCalPERS Portfolio Carbon Underground HoldingsCalPERS Portfolio CU200 by Asset ClassCalPERS Portfolio CU200 Domestic / International HoldingsCalPERS Portfolio CU200 Carbon Intensity


Methodology Highlights

The Carbon Underground Companies

This report is based on the most recent public update of The Carbon Underground 200, which identified the top 200 public fossil fuel companies globally ranked by the carbon content of reported reserves, based on reserves as of November 28, 2013.

CalPERS Holdings

For the identification of CalPERS equity and debt holdings in the top 200 public fossil fuel companies globally, Fossil Free Indexes used CalPERS Annual Investment Report as presented on the CalPERS website ( screened against the Carbon Underground 200 as determined by FFI’s research. Four years were reviewed for both, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013. The CalPERS Annual Investment Reports were presented as of June 30th for each year. The Carbon Underground 200 list was determined as of the year-end for 2004, 2007, 2010, and November 28 for 2013.

Financed Emissions Calculations

Carbon emissions embedded in each of the holding’s reported reserves were allocated to CalPERS based on the magnitude of CalPERS’ holdings using two different methods, both variations of the “Financed Emissions” approach. One approach allocates carbon emissions based on both debt and equity positions. The second approach allocates the carbon emissions based solely on CalPERS equity positions. Both are based on the general principal that CalPERS allocation of the potential carbon emissions of each company held in their equity and debt portfolios, should be based on CalPERS respective proportional share of the equity or the equity and debt of the investee.

For detailed methodology, download the full report.