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NYC sues five major oil companies over climate change

New York City filed a federal lawsuit against five major oil companies for their alleged role in climate change. The lawsuit seeks to recover billions of dollars to fund climate change resiliency measures. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

New York City filed a federal lawsuit against five major oil companies for their alleged role in climate change.

The lawsuit seeks to recover billions of dollars to fund climate change resiliency measures, and the city claims it needs to protect the city and its residents from the impacts of climate change, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The city also announced Wednesday it would divest the city's five pension funds of about $5 billion in fossil fuels investments out of its nearly $190 billion total.

What does the lawsuit say?

“The city seeks to shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat,” the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York reads, according to the New York Post.

Court documents also allege that the defendants have produced more than 11 percent of the world's carbon and methane pollution caused by industrial sources, since the start of the industrial revolution, the Post reported.

What else did de Blasio say?

New York City is "standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels," de Blasio said in a statement. “At the same time, 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."

"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 statement said.

Did the oil companies respond?

A spokesperson for Shell told The Hill that the courtroom is not the place to handle global warming issues.

Scott Silvestri, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, told the AP that it has made attempts to address climate change and that lawsuits don’t accomplish that goal.

"ExxonMobil welcomes any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions," the company said in a statement. "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."

BP declined to comment, according to the AP. The other two companies did not respond to the AP's requests.

One last thing…
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