Saturday, 26 May, 2018

NY City takes on fossil fuel industry

New York City to Announce Climate Lawsuit Against Oil Companies New York City is suing 5 of the most powerful fossil fuel companies over climate change
Kenneth Drake | 13 January, 2018, 03:38

The mayor is "seeking billions in the lawsuit to recoup money spent by the city for resiliency efforts related to climate change", from the major oil companies, the Associated Press reports.

Other defendants include Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil. "Rising sea levels, increasing temperatures and precipitation, and the likelihood of more frequent and intense flooding threaten our neighborhoods and infrastructure while exacerbating many underlying social inequities".

"We are going after those who have profited", the mayor said.

New York City has sued a handful of the world's largest oil producers in federal court, claiming they're the world's largest industrial contributors to climate change.

In a blog post, ExxonMobil vice president of public and government affairs Suzanne McCarron said that the company is committed to tackling climate change and has invested US$8bn since 2000 on energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Annie Leonard also commented: "New York City's impressive leadership makes me hopeful for the future, and the possibilities we have for addressing climate change from the city and state level". This is in line with many divestment efforts by many states and provinces all across the world, which is putting the fossil fuel industry in a tight spot.

ConocoPhillips declined to comment, and neither BP nor Shell could immediately be reached. San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Oakland have done the same.


"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement", Chevron said in a statement.

The decision came on the heels of the state of NY deciding to divest its pension fund from fossil fuels as well.

New York City is not the first in the United States to launch legal action against oil majors.

The peak body for the fossil fuel industry, American Petroleum Institute, also hit out at the plans. The wide ranging case is investigating whether ExxonMobil misled investors about the impact of its operations on climate change. It also claims the companies were aware of their impacts on climate and tried to obfuscate the truth.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and other trustees of the city's USD189 Billion pension funds Wednesday announced a goal to divest City funds from fossil fuel reserve owners within five years.

De Blasio explicitly linked New York's actions to the plethora of lawsuits against the tobacco industry that led in 1997 to the largest corporate legal settlement in USA history: a $246 billion pay-out to all fifty states to fund medical care and smoking prevention programs. New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is investigating Exxon over this alleged deception.

"Safeguarding the retirement of our city's police officers, teachers, firefighters and city workers is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet", Stringer said in the city of New York's January 10 announcement. API likely realizes that when it comes time to pay the bill for climate change, many will ask oil companies and other major polluters to cover the cost, which is probably not the solution Gerard is looking for. A "playbook" by one of the individuals is said to underlie a lawsuit initially brought in 2015 that is led by the attorneys general (AG) of NY and MA.

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