Regulation, Finance - January 12, 2018
NYC announces goal to divest from fossil fuels
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Jan. 10 a goal to divest New York City’s $189 billion pension fund from fossil fuel companies within five years, making the city the first major US pension plan to take this action. The Mayor and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer will submit a joint resolution to direct pension fund trustees to analyze ways to divest approximately $5 billion in securities across more than 190 fossil fuel companies.
"New York City is standing up for future generations" by taking this step, said Mayor de Blasio. "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. As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient."
"Our announcement sends a message to the world that a brighter economy rests on being green," Comptroller Stringer said, adding, "It’s complex, it will take time, and there are going to be many steps. But we’re breaking new ground."
The city also announced it has filed a lawsuit against the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming. The city will seek damages from BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell for the billions of dollars they expect to spend to protect New Yorkers from the effects of climate change.
New York City’s lawsuit seeks to recover the billions needed to fund climate change resiliency measures, including physical infrastructure, like coastal protections, upgraded water and sewer infrastructure, and heat mitigation, as well as public health campaigns.
"Climate change is perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades," the statement noted. "Sandy taught us how destructive weather events exacerbated by climate change can be. The city is already implementing a program of more than $20 billion "to ensure our neighborhoods, economy, and public services will be ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change."