By Karen Savage
New York City is suing five major oil companies, becoming the latest in a growing number of municipalities attempting to hold the industry accountable for damages caused by climate change.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce in a press conference Wednesday afternoon the suit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming. He will also announce that the city will divest its pension funds of $5 billion in fossil fuel investments.
“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,” de Blasio said in a statement. “At the same time, 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. 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 city will seek billions in damages to cover infrastructure improvements needed to protect New Yorkers from the increasing effects of climate change. The city has already begun implementing a $20 billion climate resiliency plan to protect city infrastructure from rising seas and extreme weather.
When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012, it killed 43 people, caused $19 billion in damages and flooded nearly 90,000 buildings. Two million residents were left without power and 6,500 patients had to be evacuated from hospitals and nursing homes. It drove home the city’s vulnerability to climate impacts and de Blasio made climate action a big part of his initial campaign for mayor in 2012.
BBC-Newshour Report – 11 January 2018 – on law suits against fossil fuel companies: