Mayor Bill De Blasio and the city of New York are going after big oil where it hurts the most, the wallet. The city recently announced a lawsuit against five of the major oil companies over damage to the infrastructure damage that was caused by climate change.
Roughly one week after Bill e Blasio was re-elected for a second term, he stepped out with a serious warning for big oil. The city filed a lawsuit which has been noted as one of de Blasio’s strongest steps to fight global warming as well as the rising sea levels that are associated with it. During 2012, de Blasio’s home of New York City experienced major flooding associated with Superstorm Sandy, something he believes can be attributed to global warming. De Blasio spoke recently at a press conference where he noted that New York was likely home to a few climate change deniers prior to Sandy, but after the major storm and its repercussions, he doubts there are any left in his city. He also stated that he felt as though the world was facing a very difficult reality and when it comes to his city, they will not be active in things that endanger humans.
The plan is simple, they are going after those who have gained a profit from things that cause global warming, in this case, big oil. The lawsuit lists BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMonnil and seeks billions in damages that the city has incurred due to what they claim can be blamed on climate change as well as billions more to finance a new infrastructure as well as measures to strengthen the city and protect its people from a repeat of past storms.
De Blasio made no attempt to hide his disgust with oil companies when he discussed how he felt they were disgusting for making a profit that was causing danger to people as well as the way he believes they have misled the public all so they can protect their money. He believes the greed of these companies have put the planet in a position that has made it dangerous and now he believes it is time for them to pay for rebuilding as well as strengthening cities to protect from future damages that could occur due to climate issues.
New York is not the only state to take this approach, California and Colorado have either filed lawsuits or announced that they plan to do so. A spokesperson for The American Petroleum Institute recently stated that de Blasio’s announcement and the lawsuit were disgraceful.
The lawsuit isn’t popular with everyone in the city, the lawsuit came with an announcement that roughly $5 billion from city pension funds that were once invested in fossil fuel companies will now be redistributed to other stocks. De Blasio also announced that he plans to move on to divesting $33 million from the coal industry, one that democrats feel strongly against. Some disagree, stating that fighting climate change is something that should be addressed by businesses and consumers, even through policy changes, but not by the courts. For more detailed information on this lawsuit and what it could mean, head to Huffington Post.