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Taking its cue from the liberal California cities of San Francisco and Oakland, New York City has decided to sue five oil companies over climate change:

  • BP
  • Chevron
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Royal Dutch Shell

According to The Associated Press, New York alleges the five major oil companies have played a role in global warming and is seeking to recoup billions of dollars spent preparing for climate change.

San Francisco and Oakland announced in September that they each filed a lawsuit in their respective county courts against the same five oil companies, according to a report in The Hill.

A spokesman for Shell told reporters that the issue of global warming is not one that should be handled in the courts. However, the lawsuits are an emerging legal strategy to try to hold individual fossil fuel companies responsible for rising sea levels, extreme weather and other effects of so-called “human-induced climate change”.

New York City previously said it was going to divest its five pension funds from fossil fuel companies, according to the AP.

In a statement about plans to divest, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is “standing up for future generations by becoming the first major US city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels.”

He added, “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.”

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