NY sues oil companies, plans divestment from pension funds

Henrietta Strickland
January 13, 2018

In reaction to pressure from climate activists, the Mayor announced January 10 that the city will divest $5 billion from fossil-fuel-reserve owners due to what he feels is the cause of climate change.

The municipality said that climate change cost the city billions of dollars in efforts to revamp sewer infrastructure, shore up coastal areas, and protect drinking water sources. The motion also requests an amicus brief on the claims filed by New York City against the oil companies, as well as claims that local municipalities have filed against oil companies. ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, charging that the world's five largest publicly traded oil companies are partially responsible for global warming and have known about the consequences of fossil fuels to the environment but have tried to hide it.

New York City follows cities and counties in and that have either filed or announced pending climate impact litigation.

"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". Filing a lawsuit against oil and gas companies is the solution and the answer to counter the existential threat of fracking. NY is using the centuries-old legal concepts of "public nuisance" - an illegal threat to community welfare, such as a brothel, drug den or illegal hazardous waste dump - and "private nuisance", an unreasonable interference with the use of someone else's land. "Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have historically delivered a higher return than other investments". It is unfortunate that the people who will need the pension monies will be deprived of potential wealth because of political posturing.

Both theories have been used to attack polluters, though not on the scale of global climate change.

Commenting on the news that New York City is divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, McKibben says "its decision signals the start of a real rout".

The case against the fossil fuel companies state that they've imperiled the city and cost an enormous amount of money to taxpayers as NY fights flooding and erosion caused by climate change.

His position as Mayor is to run the city and not to tour the country promoting his progressive political agenda.

In the short-term, annual pension costs are hitting levels not seen since New York's economic crisis in the late 1970s.

"Today, the mightiest city on our planet takes on its most powerful industry - its richest, most powerful and most irresponsible industry", said Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org. "Science and economics and morality are on the side of this city, and so it will eventually win".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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