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NYC Mayor Files Climate Lawsuit Against BP, Shell And Other Oil Majors

NYC Mayor Files Climate Lawsuit Against BP, Shell And Other Oil Majors

New York City's "toughest challenge" may be climate change in the coming decades.

NY said it's "exceptionally vulnerable" to rising sea levels. The think tank said the choice could cost the city billions and worsen its pensions' funded status.

The mayor is "seeking billions in the lawsuit to recoup money spent by the city for resiliency efforts related to climate change", from the major oil companies, the Associated Press reports. Now, the city is tapping the oil industry for repayment.

A spokesman for Shell, the only company to offer a response to the lawsuit so far, said climate change is a complicated matter that has no place in court. As damages due to climate change continue to stack up, more lawsuits against the deep-pocketed companies who are at least partially responsible will likely also be on the rise. A recent Harvard study concluded that Exxon "misled the public" for more than 40 years. Under Trump, the federal government has attempted the withdraw the United States 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. Conoco and BP did not comment. Linda Kelly, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) called the litigation "misguided" and "politically motivated" and said that it undermined the U.S. manufacturing industry.

The initial reaction from industry backers was to criticize de Blasio's "politicization" of climate change.

This announcement follows the filing of similar lawsuits by San Francisco and a couple of other cities a year ago.

Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall said in an email: "This lawsuit is factually and legally meritless, and will do nothing to address the serious issue of climate change". Exxon said it's the victim of a vast "conspiracy" and "abuse of government power".

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ACCF cited a recent survey from the Spectrem Group, which found that 66 percent of NY retirement system members want managers to focus on maximizing returns and returning the city to fully funded status.

"To deal with what the future will inevitably bring, the City must build sea walls, levees, dunes, and other coastal armament, and elevate and harden a vast array of City-owned structures, properties, and parks along its coastline", the suit says.

"This is what climate leadership looks like", said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.

While the New York City retirement systems remains grossly underfunded, the city comptroller continues to devote a disproportionate amount of official resources toward undermining numerous funds' own portfolio companies through the near-constant filing of various shareholder proposals. The funds are worth a total of $189 billion.

"Our announcement sends a message to the world that a brighter economy rests on being green", said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. He also announced that the city plans to divest its five pension funds from fossil fuels. The resolution will allow trustees to analyze strategies on responsibly divesting from fossil fuels in ways that meet fiduciary obligations. That study also showed that 80 percent of NY members believe their pensions are fully-funded. The API called it a "disgraceful way to score cheap political points".

Many investment firms also are withdrawing support for oil and gas projects, including European banking giant BNP Paribas, which last fall said its global financing policy is to no longer include doing business with companies whose principal activity is the "exploration, production, distribution, marketing or trading of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands".


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