NY sues oil companies, plans divestment from pension funds

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Furthermore, city officials indicated that they would divest fossil fuel investments from its $189 billion public pension funds over the next five years.

The lawsuit links global warming to extreme temperatures, severe snowfall, risen sea levels, and more flooding across the state. The lawsuit is seeking to collect billions in damages to pay for city efforts to manage the current and future impacts of climate change.

New York City has announced a move that could mean a day of reckoning for the oil industry.

Speaking along with others in New York City, de Blasio referred to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, a deadly storm that hit the city in 2012.

In a media statement, mayor DiBlasio said, "This is a tragedy that was wrought by the fossil-fuel companies, [so] we are going after those who have profited".

In reaction to the lawsuits that already have been filed by the California municipalities, Exxon threatened a counter-lawsuit for "abuse of government power", while Shell said that climate change "is a complex societal challenge" that should be addressed through government policies and cultural changes, and "not by the courts", the Washington Post reported. 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.

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In late November, Letitia James, New York City's public advocate, held a first-of-its-kind public hearing on climate change.

Earlier this week, New York City announced a major attack on the fossil fuel industry. NY state had previously subpoenaed (request for evidence by court order) documents from Exxon, in 2016, in a bid to uncover whether the oil company misled investors over the risks of climate change.

In 2016, a coalition of attorneys general - called and led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman - formed to combat the climate crisis.

Stringer added that the city is embarking on one of "the most significant divestment efforts anywhere in the world to date".

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

"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". And it's time to do something different in New York City, isn't it?

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