New York Mayor sues five largest oil companies over global warning

13 January, 2018, 03:37 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • New York City

It points to evidence that the companies, and the industry as a whole, knew of the damages they were causing and of the harm caused by burning fossil fuels, yet they misled the public by trying to hide that information while continuing work to expand the use of fossil fuels and increase profits. "We unequivocally reject the allegations that Exxon Mobil has suppressed climate change research", he said.

Six months later, New York City is doing just that, in a big way.

Climate leaders responded with unbridled enthusiasm at the news.

At least one of the companies - ExxonMobil - is fighting back.

The decision "puts New York City in a position of national leadership and is an important move towards achieving climate justice for communities on the frontline of the crisis", Yeampierre predicted. Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of, said: "New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet". Michael Burger, executive director of Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said no city has successfully sued a fossil-fuel company for climate change damages.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a United States environmental advocacy group, said the lawsuit could go some way towards covering the costs of protecting NY residents against climate change.

So far, that has not been the case. The other companies did not immediately comment. Chevron said the compliant was "factually and legally meritless", according to the WSJ. "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement". A recent study showed that oil company ExxonMobil sowed doubt about human-caused climate change, even as its own scientific papers and internal documents acknowledged the problem. Shell called climate change "a complex societal challenge" that should be addressed "through sound government policy and cultural change", and not in court. "Lawsuits of this kind - filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life - simply do not do that". Shell's spokesman echoed that sentiment. In 2012 Superstorm Sandy hit NY and surrounding areas, and the resulting roughly $70 billion in storm damages made it the second-costliest weather disaster in USA history, second only to Hurricane Katrina.

The total in the pension fund is $189 billion ($AU236 billion).

The oil majors largely dismissed the suit.

There are about 190 fossil-fuel firms in which the pension funds are invested, and NYCERS and the Teachers Retirement System make up about two-thirds of those investments. The death toll was 117 and the damages were about $65 billion. "That is what it means in human and real terms".

"We're saying simply that this city - which suffered so deeply after Hurricane Sandy - has literally experienced billions and billions of dollars of damage as a result of climate change that these specific companies aided and abetted, and they should pay damages for that, very much the same way that tobacco companies were forced to pay damages for the awful impact that they had knowingly on public health for so many years".

The mayor's office said the "resiliency" program could cost the city upwards of $US20 billion ($A25billion) in the near future. "And what a terrible, disgusting way to profit". It's time that they are held accountable.

"Because we have to change the reality in our society, first of all".



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