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

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

The city is moving to dump its investments in fossil fuels, and suing five big oil companies charging they are responsible for global warming that has cost the city billions.

Court documents state that NY has suffered from flooding and erosion due to climate change and because of looming future threats it is seeking to "shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done almost all they could to create this existential threat".

The lawsuit, against BP Plc, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, follows similar lawsuits filed previous year by San Francisco and other California cities seeking billions of dollars in damages from rising sea levels due to climate impacts.

"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 NY safer and more resilient", said de Blasio.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo previously has said he planned to halt future fossil fuel investments in the state's public employee pension fund.

When announcing a new city mandate in September that existing buildingscut greenhouse gas emissions, Mayor de Blasio underscored the urgency of addressing climate change. The trade group said de Blasio has made a decision to "play politics with underfunded pension plans" even as New Yorkers have depended on natural gas and oil during the extremely cold weather.

"The costs to address climate damages and prepare for future impacts are enormous and growing", said Frumhoff.

"This lawsuit is based on the claim that a corporation that makes a product causing severe harm when used exactly as intended should shoulder the costs of abating that harm", the city said in the complaint. Three of the companies shot back against the mayor's accusations, while two others - ConocoPhillips and BP - declined to enter the fray. Liz Krueger who said, "Divestment sends the clear message that it is no longer acceptable to support companies whose fundamental business model puts our entire society at risk".

Stringer admitted the divestment will be "complex" and will take some time but said the city's pension funds could promote sustainability while also protecting the retirement of teachers, police officers and other city workers.

Climate campaigners heaped praise on the city as well. He and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli are creating an advisory committee to examine the way to proceed with divestment. Even Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, built on the country's oil riches, has backed away from fossil fuels.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which represents the oil companies, slammed NY for joining a "politically-motivated campaign to undermine manufacturing in America". The API called it a "disgraceful way to score cheap political points".

"Mayor de Blasio is just the latest mayor to lead his city into misguided litigation against America's energy manufacturers", Linda Kelly of the National Association of Manufacturers said in a statement. "The mayor's announcement may raise his profile, but it will do nothing to address climate change and will ultimately fail". "The mightiest city on the planet has now sort of walked into a real fight with the richest and most irresponsible industry on the planet", he said.