New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — as well as London Mayor Sadiq Khan — challenged other large cities to divest from fossil fuels in a joint op-ed Monday published by The Guardian.
The mayors timed the statement to coincide with the Global Climate Action Summit, which will run from Wednesday to Friday in San Francisco. The summit seeks to bring world leaders together in an effort to accelerate action to slow man-made climate change, according to the event’s website.
De Blasio and Khan wrote that in the collaborative op-ed that they believe divestment from the fossil fuel industry would “send a powerful message” to those companies which can be considered heavily polluters to put more of their resources into low carbon and renewable sources.
“As mayors, we are not only committed to taking bold action to tackle climate change and to improve the lives of those we represent, but also to showing others the way,” the mayors wrote. “That’s why, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in California, we are calling on other cities to stand with us to divest their assets from fossil fuel companies.”
“Today we are announcing a new global initiative for cities on divestment and sustainable investment. Working through the C40 Climate Leadership Group, London and New York will co-chair the Cities Divest/Invest forum, a global network for cities that will not only enable us to share tools, knowledge and experiences, but also to advocate for action on divestment and green investment.”
The statement claimed that the London Pension Fund Authority has gotten rid of £700,000 — or $911,570 — of fossil fuel investments, including stakes in Shell and BP. New York is planning on dumping $5 billion in fossil fuel investment over the next five years.
“We believe we can demonstrate to the world that divestment is a powerful tool and a prudent use of resources,” de Blasio and Khan wrote, “and that, together, our cities – New York, London and many others around the world – can send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry: change your ways now and join us in tackling climate change.”
Divestment appears to be a new strategic avenue for de Blasio against offending oil companies after failing to win climate change revisions in federal court.
The New York Post reported in July that U.S. District Judge John Keenan booted de Blasio’s lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell — de Blasio charging that those companies were harming the city by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
“From the moment this baseless lawsuit was filed, manufacturers have argued that the courtroom was not the proper venue to address this global challenge,” said National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons, pointing out that it was the third climate change suit to be rejected by the courts, the New York Post noted.
He added that San Francisco and Oakland also had climate change lawsuits tossed and that “other municipalities should withdraw their complaints to save taxpayer resources and focus on meaningful solutions.”