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New York does not want its …

The city of New York wants to get rid of some 5 billion investments (4.8 billion francs) in companies active in fossil fuels. It also intends to sue five oil groups for their alleged role in climate change.

The implementation of this divestment will only take place after analysis of the impact of such a decision and legal review, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Wednesday. He claimed that New York was the first major American city to take such an initiative.

These assets, which would be sold within five years if validated after analysis, are part of the portfolio of five municipal pension funds that provide pensions for teachers, municipal employees, police, firefighters and administrative staff of schools in the city, according to this release.

In total, the five funds control $ 189 billion, of which some $ 5 billion is invested in 190 companies active in fossil fuels.

At the same time, the city announced its intention to sue five oil giants – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell – for their supposed responsibility in climate change, but without specifying when or before which jurisdiction.

The damages possibly allocated by the justice system would contribute to the financing of the measures taken by the city to fight against the consequences of climate change, announced the municipality, which has already launched a program of investment of 20 billion dollars.

No acting out so far

At the end of December, the governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, had indicated that he wanted to freeze investments by the State Civil Servants’ Pension Fund (NYSCRF) in fossil fuels, as well as a disengagement plan.

In 2015, the California Parliament had already passed a law requiring the state’s two main public pension funds, CalPERS (municipal employees) and CalSTRS (teachers) to divest their coal-related assets.

Besides New York, other large American cities have already considered disengaging their public pension funds from fossil fuels, notably San Francisco and Seattle, but none have yet taken action.

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