NYC to divest from fossil fuel companies, sues 5 oil firms

New York City

NYC to divest from fossil fuel companies, sues 5 oil firms

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on both climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world's most powerful oil companies over their contribution to unsafe global warming.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, shown at his January 1 swearing-in, announced Wednesday that city pension funds would divest from fossil fuel investments.

CITY has filed a lawsuit against five of the world's largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies - BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell - for billions of dollars to cover its costs for climate change.

NY is now carrying out a $20 billion plan to combat the effects of climate change and protect New Yorkers from rising seas, stronger storms and more extreme temperatures.

NY was badly rattled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and faces costs escalating into the tens of billions of dollars in order to protect low-lying areas such as lower Manhattan and the area around JFK airport from being inundated by further severe storms fueled by rising sea levels and atmospheric warming.

"New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels".

This week, ExxonMobil asked to depose 16 California state officials who sued the company over selling fuel they say is warming the planet, raising the seas and, they contend, threatening their communities - just the most recent escalation in the legal fight between the largest USA oil and gas firms and blue-state officials over climate change.

"We are committed to participating in serious attempts to address climate change and to being part of the solution". "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement".

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio received immediate blowback from some of the companies, while winning praise from environmentalists and others.

NY alleges the five major oil companies have played a role in global warming, the AP reported, and is seeking to recoup billions of dollars spent preparing for climate change.

New York City officials are citing climate change as their motivation to join a growing number of entities divesting themselves of financial interest in fossil fuels. Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman, said the courts are not the venue to address climate change. "Taxpayers and impacted communities are right to demand that major fossil fuel companies, which have knowingly made the situation worse, pay their fair share". The cities of San Francisco and Oakland and the city and county of Santa Cruz have also filed suit this year.

The trustees will also seek legal opinion as to whether carrying out the divestment would comply with trustees' fiduciary duties to beneficiaries.

"It's complex, it will take time, and there are going to be many steps", said Stringer.

New York City is breaking up with big oil.

"Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors, and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have delivered a stronger return than other investments".

Longtime environmental activist Bill McKibben called the actions by the city "one of a handful of the most important developments" in the past 30 years.

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