This Wednesday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced two bold actions the city would be taking to fight back against the industries contributing to climate change. The city will divest roughly $5 billon of pension funds from fossil fuel companies as well as open a lawsuit against five major oil companies to collect billions of dollars in damages to pay for efforts needed to cope with the effects of climate change.
350 founder and journalist Bill McKibben sat alongside de Blasio for the announcement and has written a piece for The Guardian on how shifting the debate from politics to finance might signal the start of real change.
“Smart money has been pouring into renewables; dumb money has stuck with fossil fuel, even as it underperformed markets for the last half-decade. Just two months ago Norway’s vast sovereign wealth fund began to divest, which was a pretty good signal: if even an oil industry stalwart thought the game was up, they were probably right.”
Also present for the announcement was journalist Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” She has written a piece for the Intercept noting the affect this could have on the fight for the climate including inspiring other cites around the world to do the same.
“Within minutes of de Blasio’s announcement going public, activists in London started tweeting at their mayor to step up in equally bold fashion. And while the press conference was still streaming live, several of us started to get emails from city councillors in other cities around the world, promising to initiate a similar process in their communities. Such is the power of an action emanating from a center as symbolically important as New York City: What felt politically impossible yesterday suddenly seems possible, and the dominos start instantly falling.”
This is certainly encouraging news that will hopefully inspire many more cities to take similar action. San Francisco, Oakland, and seven other cities and counties in California have filed similar suits in state court which we in the Bay Area can support.