In total, the city's five pension funds hold roughly $5 billion in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies. The New Yorkers' pension funds are now worth $189 billion.
"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", said Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor. The Guardian reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has made fighting climate change a priority in his administration as a way to protect the metropolis. Many areas in New York City are built in low-lying wetlands, including JFK airport. The second prong of the attack is a major lawsuit against five of the largest oil companies: BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell.
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.
Seven Californian cities have sued the fossil fuel industry over the same reason.
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But it's not just NY taking on the oil industry.
The lawsuit links global warming to extreme temperatures, severe snowfall, risen sea levels, and more flooding across the state. De Blasio's office said climate change is "perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades". The filing says that since the industrial revolution, only 100 companies are responsible for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions with the five named in their suit as the worst offenders. These are accusations Exxon is challenging, and it has argued that action against it is political.
Climate change is real. Under Trump, the federal government has attempted the withdraw the USA from the Paris climate accords, tear up Barack Obama's signature climate policies and open up vast areas of America's land and waters to coal, oil and gas interests.
New York City will now become one of a growing number of cities divesting from at least some types of fossil fuels, as well as universities, including Oxford and the London School of Economics in the UK.
Stringer admitted the divestment will be "complex" and will take some time but said the city's pension funds could promote sustainability while also protecting the retirement of teachers, police officers and other city workers. It's taking some of the most powerful oil companies to task by suing them.