The City of New York said on Wednesday that it will be suing BP plc (NYSE: BP), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), and Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS.A) in an attempt to hold oil and gas producers responsible for the costs of environmental effects as a result of their products. The city claims that these oil companies are the largest global contributors to climate change.
“Defendants are collectively responsible, through their production, marketing and sale of fossil fuels, for over 11 percent of all the carbon and methane pollution from industrial sources that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution,” stated lawyers for the city. “Defendants are also responsible for leading the public relations strategy for the entire fossil fuel industry, downplaying the risks of climate change and promoting fossil fuel use despite the risks.”
New York City is not the first to file lawsuits in an attempt to hold major oil companies accountable for climate change. San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Imperial Beach, and Marin have also previously filed lawsuits against the oil industry due to the detrimental effects fossil fuels have on the environment.
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, joined Scott Stringer, the comptroller, on Wednesday stating that five of the city’s pension funds inted to divest roughly $5 billion from over 190 fossil fuel reserve owners in the next five years.