USA: NYC sues 5 largest oil biz over climate change contribution & takes steps for city’s pension funds to divest

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Article
30 July 2018

USA: Federal judge rules in favour of 5 big oil cos. & dismisses New York City climate lawsuit

Author: Desmog (USA)

“The Big Apple Loses to Big Oil as Judge Dismisses Climate Liability Suit”, 20 of July 2018

A federal judge ruled on Thursday in favor of a motion by five big oil companies to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by New York City, which demanded they pay the costs of adapting the city's infrastructure to climate change, The New York Times reported. The ruling comes nearly a month after a federal judge in San Francisco dismissed a similar case brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco…While both judges acknowledged the reality of climate change, they thought that crafting policy around it was too large an issue for the courts to settle. “Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” Keenan wrote in his decision. But environmentalists pointed out that fossil fuel companies like the defendants had done everything in their power to stop the other branches of government from acting…New York City spokesperson Seth Stein said the city would appeal the decision…The city had argued that the defendants ― Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell ― had known about the risks posed by burning fossil fuels since the 1950s and had “engaged in an overt public relations campaign intended to cast doubt on climate science,”…

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Article
25 July 2018

USA: Court dismisses New York City's climate change lawsuit against oil companies

Author: Larry Neumeister, AP News (USA)

"Federal judge tosses out climate change lawsuit", 19 Jul 2018

New York City’s effort to hold oil companies responsible for global warming was rejected by a judge...who said placing blame for the issue is not the judiciary’s responsibility.  U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan said global warming is a problem best left to the other two branches of government...Keenan said the lawsuit implicates countless foreign governments and their laws and policies...The decision echoed the findings last month of a federal judge in San Francisco who rejected a similar lawsuit on the same grounds...The city said it would appeal...

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Article
10 January 2018

Climate Action: Mayor, Comptroller, Trustees Announce First-In-The-Nation Goal to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Author: NYC government

...Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and other trustees of the City’s $189 Billion pension funds today announced a goal to divest City funds from fossil fuel reserve owners within five years... the Mayor and Comptroller will submit a joint resolution to pension fund trustees to begin analyzing ways to divest from fossil fuel owners in a responsible way that is fully consistent with fiduciary obligations. In total, the City’s five pension funds hold roughly $5 billion in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies. 

...The Mayor also announced that the City has filed a lawsuit against the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming. The City will be seeking damages from BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell for the billions of dollars the City will spend to protect New Yorkers from the effects of climate change. This includes damages to pay for harm that we’ve already seen and damages that are necessary to address harm we expect to happen over the course of this century.

... The first step is for the trustees at each fund to instruct the Office of the City Comptroller’s Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) to commission an analysis of the proposed divestment and advise the trustees as to the anticipated impact on the risk and return characteristics of the portfolio. The trustees will also seek legal opinion as to whether carrying out the divestment would be consistent with trustees fiduciary duties to beneficiaries.  Assuming a positive legal opinion, the trustees would then instruct BAM to carry out the divestment with specified steps and timelines. In the case of this divestment, transactions would likely be carried out in stages in order to reduce transaction and implementation costs.

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Article
10 January 2018

Climate advocates praise nyc for plan to divest pensions from fossil fuels, sue big oil

Author: NYC government

"New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet,” said Bill McKibben, author and 350.org co-founder. 

...Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said, “New York City’s impressive leadership makes me hopeful for the future, and the possibilities we have for addressing climate change from the city and state level. 

...Christiana Figueres, former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and architect of the Paris climate agreement said, “...The exponential transition toward a fossil-fuel-free economy is unstoppable and local governments have a critical role to play. There is no time to lose. 

...“It’s time to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, 

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Article
10 January 2018

New York City files climate lawsuit against five biggest oil companies

Author: Karen Savage, Climate Liability News

New York City is suing five major oil companies, becoming the latest in a growing number of municipalities attempting to hold the industry accountable for damages caused by climate change.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce in a press conference Wednesday afternoon the suit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming. He will also announce that the city will divest its pension funds of $5 billion in fossil fuel investments.

The city will seek billions in damages to cover infrastructure improvements needed to protect New Yorkers from the increasing effects of climate change. 

...A recent study found that by 2030 New York’s 8.5 million people could experience Sandy-like flooding every five years and a report compiled in 2015 by the second New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) found temperature, precipitation and sea level rise are increasing in the city...Sea levels in New York City rose 1.2 inches per decade since 1900, nearly twice the global rate. The trend is expected to continue...

...The initial reaction from industry backers was to criticize de Blasio’s “politicization” of climate change.

...“Mayor de Blasio is just the latest mayor to lead his city into misguided litigation against America’s energy manufacturers,” Linda Kelly of the National Association of Manufacturers said...Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Article
10 January 2018

New York sues big oil companies over climate change

Author: Attracta Mooney and Ed Crooks, Financial Times

[BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell] are facing a lawsuit for “billions of dollars” after New York City accused them of contributing to climate change. The city also said it would start analysing ways to divest its pension funds, which have $189bn in assets, of fossil fuel companies “in a responsible way that is fully consistent with fiduciary obligations”.

...The same five companies are fighting court cases in California brought by cities and counties over the harm they expect to suffer from climate change. Exxon in a court filing this week described those actions as “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation” that were attempting to stifle the company’s right to “participate in the national dialogue about climate change and climate policy”.

...Exxon responded that it welcomed “any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change”, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions required global action... it added: “Lawsuits of this kind... simply do not do that.”

...Shell... said in a statement: “We believe climate change is a complex societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change to drive low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers, not by the courts.” Chevron described the lawsuit as “factually and legally meritless”, and said it would “only serve special interests” rather than addressing the real issue of climate change. Conoco and BP declined to comment.

...Mr de Blasio and comptroller Scott Stringer will submit a “joint resolution to pension fund trustees” to begin the process of divesting. New York City’s five pension funds hold $5bn in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies.

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