Is Los Angeles Joining NYC in the Fight Against Big Oil?


In 2012, Hurricane Sandy took a heavy toll on New York City, knocking out power and transportation, destroying homes, and causing tens of billions of dollars worth of damage. He also says the city will divest the US$5bn that its pension funds now hold in fossil fuel companies. The lawsuit is seeking to collect billions in damages to pay for city efforts to manage the current and future impacts of climate change.

The leaders signed a motion that was introduced and would direct City Attorney Mike Feuer to report to the council on options for filing claims against oil companies in a similar manner that the city of NY undertook earlier this week by filing a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips.

BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell are the five companies that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is suing for their contribution to climate change.

Exxon is fighting a MA investigation as well.

Part of New York City's vulnerability is that it is surrounded by water.

New York City will now become one of a growing number of cities divesting from at least some types of fossil fuels, as well as universities, including Oxford and the London School of Economics in the UK.

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The court filing claims that just 100 fossil fuel producers are responsible for almost two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution, with the five targeted companies the largest contributors.

And California cities San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits against the five companies for causing harm to the public; as did California counties Marin and San Mateo, and Imperial Beach in San Diego county. The motion also requests an amicus brief on the claims filed by New York City against the oil companies, as well as claims that local municipalities have filed against oil companies.

The legal action and the divestment draw perhaps the starkest dividing line yet between NY and the Trump administration on climate change.

"New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle" against climate change, writes author and campaigner Bill McKibben for the Guardian.

"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".

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