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New York City sues oil companies over climate change

Categories: Articles:Environment | Published: 16/01/2018 | Views: 672

An Australian news outlet,, have reported on New York’s mayor announcing plans to sell off $5 billion in fossil fuel investments from city pension funds after suing oil companies for billions of dollars to help fund protection against climate change.

The city has filed a federal claim seeking damages from BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to help compensate its $US20 billion plan to protect the city, economy and public services from the effects of climate change.

Mayor Bill de Blasio drew comparisons between oil companies and the tobacco industry, which knowingly profited out of a habit they knew to be harmful.

While other cities in Europe and the United States have already taken similar steps, New York hailed its move as significant, as it is the biggest metropolis in the country. The city suffered billions of dollars of damage in Hurricane Sandy which paralysed New York in 2012, causing 3m-high floods across coastal New York and New Jersey, and an estimated $US71 billion in damage.

A study published by researchers in October warned that rising sea levels from man-made climate change could prompt catastrophic flooding in New York as frequently as once every five years by 2030 to 2045.

New York’s $US189 billion pension fund — held for city employees such as police officers, teachers and firefighters — currently has around $US5 billion in securities of more than 190 fossil fuel companies, officials said.

Mayor de Blasio said staff would instruct fund trustees to start analysing ways to divest responsibly from fossil fuel over the next five years, in a process that officials warned would not be easy and would take time.

“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major US city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” Mayor de Blasio said.

US President Donald Trump inflamed the world last year by announcing that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, setting off a crescendo of efforts by Democrat-run cities and states to shrink the country’s carbon footprint.

A report issued at UN talks last November said those efforts would not fully counteract Mr Trump’s decision to reverse climate policies and promote fossil fuel use.

In December, the US did not attend international climate talks in Paris, where countries announced they were boosting investment in green energy and divesting from fossil fuels.  Read on

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