Most climate advocates on Wednesday hailed what was termed a victory following two recent statements by New York City through its Mayor, Bill de Blasio. In these statements, it was said that the city has intentions of stripping off pension funds from fossil fuels in a period of five years and that it has filed a lawsuit against five big fossil fuel companies for their influence in climate change damages.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had said on Wednesday following the statement released, that, “New York City is standing up for its upcoming generation by becoming the first U.S city to strip off pension funds from fossil fuels“. He has also said that “At the moment, we are bringing the fight against climate change straight to fossil fuel companies that know the damages and the effects of climate change, thus, misleading the public for their personal interests”. It is important to know that climate change continues to deepen; it is up to these giant companies to cut out personal interests to make New York and the world at large a better and a safer place to live in.
These statements come just in time after ExxonMobil launched an attack in a Texas court against communities in the coastline areas of California that charged Exxon for their bad impacts on climate change last year.
“New York has intentions of shifting the costs of shielding the city for the effects of climate change back to the big companies that have tried their best to create this existential threat” this statement was declared by the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York.
The big companies that cause climate change have been named by the city and they are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. However, it is also essential to know that these companies have produced more than 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases since the advent of industrial revolution, including the threats on the infrastructure, health, and property of the residents.
Several environmentalists and climate activists have praised the Blasio’s statement. Also, state lawmakers have also praised the city’s action and among them who expressed their satisfaction was Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger and he has said that “ The stripping off of pension fund sends a clear message to everyone that we do not support companies whose agendas put the entire city at risk”.
However, climate activists like McKibben has said that “New York City has become a stronghold for the fight against climate change”
We do know that several areas in New York are susceptible to a rising sea; with this, the city is showing a high zeal against climate change, by putting up a fight against big fossil fuel companies in the financial markets and courts.
The statement made on Wednesday has also heaped praise from the president of Center for International Environmental Law, Carroll Muffett, has said that “they have reached a milestone in corporate accountability for climate change and a wake-up call to shareholders the threats of coming up against big fossil fuel companies are increasing”
The move made by New York also came in-line with the announcement it made last month that it was putting up a “de-carbonization roadmap” that includes dissociating from fossil fuels.
“Climate change imposes several threats and it is expensive more than any problem that humans have ever faced,” said Richard Wiles, who is the executive director of Center for Climate Integrity. “in a dynamic way, climate change is no different from other environmental issues that we are experiencing. The polluters have to pay for the damages they have caused us”
Furthermore, since NYC has become the first major city in the United State to call for divestment, a vast number of communities have filed suit against the fossil fuel industry, thus, it is clear that “a worldwide movement is tuning”
Agreeing to Betamia Coronel, U.S. reinvestment coordinator at 350.org, “Divesting the city’s pensions from big fossil industry is a big step taken; suing companies like Exxon for the role on climate crises is the next move. The announcement made today has sent a big shock and signal to every part of the world that the advent of a fossil-free world is emerging”
We haven’t forgotten the 2012 Superstorm Sandy that struck the east coast of U.S., thus, resulting in the destruction of over 230 facilities and causing more than $70 billion damages, which was the deadliest and the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
“The signals are clear”, McKibben has also stated in an op-ed, “The oil industry is not the future we should hope, its time has gone. Surely, it will be responsible for its events in the past”
Activists all over the world are hopeful this move made by New York City against fossil fuel will produce a dynamic change to other cities to take the same action.