United States: New York City vs Oil companies

The major of the city sued 5 of the 100 companies seemingly responsible of the 71% of the climate change

United States: New York City vs Oil companies

Leer en Español: Estados Unidos: La Ciudad de Nueva York vs Las Petroleras

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, declared war against the oil industry. The politician announced that the city will sue the 5 biggest petroleum emporiums: Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhilips, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP. The lawsuit was presented to the U.S. District Court for the South District of New York.

The Democrat explained that the lawsuit seeks compensation to the city due to climate change related disasters.  He assured that these 5 giants of the Energy sector are responsible for the 11% of the greenhouse gases causing the natural disasters that New York City has been forced to face, for example Hurricane Sandy, which left $42 million dollars in damage.

According to De Blasio, "we're bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits. As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient".

This is not the first time a city sues an oil company due to reasons entailing climate change. Past September, San Francisco and Oakland sued Big Oil (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Bp, ConocoPhilips, and Royal Dutch Shell) blaming them for climate change. The cities asked for billions of dollars to pay for the construction of walls to protect them against the rise of ocean water.

Dennis Herrera, San Francisco's City Attorney, assured that "these fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk".

5 billion dollars less to the sector

The idea of suing the companies is not the only way the city will fight against the oil industry. De Blasio also announced that the city will divest $5 billion dollars from the pension funds.

In the past, universities, such as Oxford and Stanford, took similar actions. Furthermore, the Governor of the State of New York announced that the state is analyzing to divest oil companies from various influx of money they obtain.

Bill de Blasio, an environmentalist mayor

Since the denial of climate change made by U.S. President Donald Trump, Bill de Blasio has taken the leading role. Past September, the politician vowed to the cut emissions of the city's larger buildings, participated in the last United Nation’s environmental summit, and warned the world of the "existential threat" of climate change.

Similarities to the fight against the Tobacco companies

The war against the oil industry will have similarities to the war waged against the Tobacco industry during the past decades. According to The Guardian, "the case will point to evidence that confirms that [companies] such as Exxon knew of the impact of climate change for decades, only to downplay and even deny this in public. New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is investigating Exxon over this alleged deception".


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto


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