New York City announced on Wednesday that it filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against five top oil companies, citing their "contributions to global warming", as it said it would divest fossil fuel investments from its $189-billion public pension funds over the next five years.
"New York supports future generations, becoming the first major American city to withdraw its pension funds investments from fossil fuels", said the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.
However, he acknowledged that the lawsuit against BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell - which says that the companies were aware for years that burning fossil fuels caused climate change, but hid the conclusions of their scientists - could take years to reach a resolution.
With New York City filing a lawsuit against some oil companies for allegedly contributing to global warming, some experts are expecting it to build momentum inside the U.S., while the affected firms are calling it a ploy to politicise climate change. "With continued worsening climate change, fossil fuel companies, which greed has put us in this position, have to take the cost of making NY a safer and more flexible place to live", added he. The mayor's office noted in a recent statement that Hurricane Sandy was a lesson for us on climate change's destructivity.
Four Los Angeles City Council members Friday called on the city to file a lawsuit against large oil companies and seek to hold them responsible for damage to the city from climate change. "According to the complaint, "...the City seeks to shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done almost all they could to create this existential threat".
According to court documents, 100 oil companies are responsible for almost two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the Industrial Revolution, with the five countries contributing the most.
Judicial actions and withdrawal of investment have drawn one of the most categorical dividing lines between NY authorities and President Donald Trump's administration on climate change.
Seven Californian cities have sued the fossil fuel industry over the same reason.