NYC, London mayors launch fossil fuel divestment initiative
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan penned an op-ed in The Guardian encouraging other cities to divest their assets from fossil fuels companies.
- They invited other cities to join the C40 Divest/Invest Forum, aimed at creating opportunities for city leaders to share information about divestment and learn from other cities that have already divested, or have at least started to.
- In January, New York vowed to begin divesting about $5 million from its five pension funds over the next five years. London says it has less than $142 million invested in fossil fuels and it took action this year to get rid of investments in Shell and BP, with further plans to divest the remaining fossil fuel investments.
De Blasio and Khan claim that their cities and others that join them will send a clear message to fossil fuel companies: change now and join cities in tackling climate change. They're encouraging cities instead to invest in renewable energy sources.
The duo acknowledged that ridding a city of investments in fossil fuel companies is not always an easy or straightforward process. Those investments often are in pension funds, which mayors generally do not control. But the mayors believe city leaders can work with partners — including the private sector and the pension funds themselves — as part of the C40 Divest/Invest Forum to make progress on removing investments from fossil fuel companies.
And the stance has received support from other mayors, part of a movement of cities that are stepping up to fight climate change with the federal government taking a step back.
"[People] want to know their hard earned money is being invested in assets that improve the lives of their family, friends, and local businesses instead of exposing them to additional flooding, landslides, and extreme weather. The only responsible action to take as mayor is to reduce and remove our exposure to assets that harm the people of Pittsburgh," said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a statement.
De Blasio and Khan also promised in the op-ed to move forward with achieving the goals of the Paris agreement, despite the U.S. no longer being a signatory of the measure. The two will lead the new divestment initiative as part of the C40 Climate Leadership Group at this week's Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
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