New York City is making a move against the fossil fuel industry on two fronts.
Democratic Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday the city is suing five big oil companies for global warming and divesting $5 billion in oil investments from the city’s pension funds.
“We’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits,” de Blasio alleged Wednesday. “As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient.”
The mayor compared the oil companies to cigarette manufacturers, who knowingly made and marketed a product they knew was deadly.
Three of the five companies the city is suing — Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell — said the lawsuit has no merit and that the courtroom is not the place to fight global warming.
BP and ConocoPhillips declined to comment.
Mayor de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer also announced plans to sell off $5 billion in fossil fuel investments from the city’s $189 billion pension fund for employees — the largest such divestment of any U.S. city.
“Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers and firefighters is our top priority and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet,” Stringer said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced similar plans for the state pension funds last month.
Several other U.S. and European cities, universities and global funds have also sold off their oil company interests.