New York City to Separate Itself From the Fossil Fuel Industry

New York City is taking steps to separate itself from the fossil fuel industry while simultaneously challenging the “oil friendly” administration of President Donald Trump. Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans to divest the city’s five pension funds from businesses that he largely blames for climate change.
The actual divestment could be complicated, according to the city’s comptroller, and could take some time to complete. The current goal is for completion of the process within five years. The pension funds, which total nearly $190 billion, have been set aside to cover the retirement costs of city workers, including teachers and police officers. The goal is to complete the divestment without causing financial harm to the retirees.
This will be the first time a major city in the United States has taken such steps, but it will not be the only action by New York to deal with climate change. According to the mayor, the city is taking legal action against five oil companies over the same issue in hopes of making them pay for the damage he says they have created. The five companies are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile and Shell. More information about the legal action being taken is available at
According to official records, the city has experienced costly damage caused by flooding and erosion, with both conditions directly attributable to climate change. Additional costs were incurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York and surrounding areas in 2012. Many scientists believe that climate change has increased the number and intensity of such storms. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit also claim that representatives of the oil industry had for decades denied the known fact that that fossil fuel use can harm the environment. This issue alone is currently the center of a separate investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The action by New York City is also a direct challenge to Trump, who has expressed the desire to remove the United States from the international treaty known as the Paris Agreement. The city has received praise from the former United Nations climate chief and architect of the treaty, Christiana Figueres. She noted that such action represents the first step in eventually creating an economy that is free of fossil fuels.

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