Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday announced that New York City is suing the top five oil companies for contributing to climate change.
New York City’s federal lawsuit alleges that the businesses have been aware for decades that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.
“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,” de Blasio said Wednesday.
“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.”
The lawsuit’s defendants include BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell.
Three of the companies have since struck back at de Blasio’s claims, while BP and ConocoPhillips have so far remained silent.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions,” Exxon Mobil’s Scott Silvestri said Wednesday.
“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.”
Chevron spokesman Braden on Wednesday called the lawsuit meritless, adding the litigation will not address climate change.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith on Wednesday argued that the courts are not the venue for tackling the issue.
New York City’s lawsuit follows similar litigation filed by Oakland, Santa Cruz and San Francisco in California.
De Blasio on Wednesday also revealed that New York City plans on divesting the city’s five pension funds of roughly $5 billion in fossil fuel investments out of its $189 billion total.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and de Blasio described the divestment as the largest of any U.S. municipality to date.
“Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers and firefighters is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet,” Stringer said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.