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January 10, 2018 | 350.org
New York, NY — Today, following over five years of persistent campaigning from New Yorkers, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City is moving forward with full fossil fuel divestment. The city’s five pension funds, a combined $191 billion, will divest $5 billion in securities from over 100 fossil fuel reserve owners.
New York’s announcement brings the total number of global divestment commitments to 810 institutions representing more than $6 trillion in assets.
“New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet. With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous: it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. “Ever since Sandy, New Yorkers understand the risk, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. Now, thanks to Mayor de Blasio and his team, the city is fighting back, and in ways that will actually matter.”
In addition to this multi-billion-dollar hard-won divestment, Mayor de Blasio announced the City is launching a lawsuit against five major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips for climate damages. With New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigating ExxonMobil, and seven municipalities across California fighting similar damage lawsuits, this announcement adds significant momentum to the #ExxonKnew campaign to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the role in climate destruction.
“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “At the same time, 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.”
Naomi Klein, author and activist, said, “Emanating from the financial capital of the world, the message of today’s historic announcement is unmistakable: investing in fossil fuel companies is a high-risk, bad bet. New York City is now leading cities and states to not only divest from fossil fuel companies but also insist that the corporations that profit from destabilizing our shared planet pay for the mess they knowingly created. As of today, the entire fossil fuel sector finds itself under a cloud of huge potential court-imposed costs, as well as the growing global momentum of investor flight. That means no matter how many oil and coal leases the Trump Administration hands out, the economics of new drilling will make less and less sense. This is very good news.”
“Today is a momentous day in the fight against corporate greed exploiting our communities and fueling climate chaos,” said Betámia Coronel, US Reinvestment Coordinator, 350.org. “While the oil-washed White House rolls back protections, New York City has leapt forward in modeling climate leadership. Divesting our city’s pensions from the dirtiest companies is an enormous hard-won first step; holding companies like Exxon accountable for their role in climate deception is next. Today’s announcement is a rallying signal to cities all over the world that the dawn of a fossil free world has arrived.”
This New York City announcement is sending ripples around the world, reinvigorating divestment fights from California to Japan and beyond. The San Francisco pension board is scheduled for a long-awaited divestment vote on January 24.
On January 31, the day after the State of the Union, 350.org is launching Fossil Free US, with leaders including Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Varshini Prakash, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood speaking at a livestreamed event in Washington D.C. to lay out the plan for the climate resistance in 2018 and beyond.
350.org is building the global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to science and justice. Our network extends to 188 countries. 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all.