Part of the process in transitioning to renewable energy and moving forward has been divestment by large pension funds in oil, coal and nuclear energy companies (much as they earlier divested in cigarettes, or South Africa). It’s not the biggest part, of course, that’s actually USING renewables instead of the more polluting or dangerous carbon based or nuclear fuels. Or at least transitioning from dirtier to cleaner wherever feasible.
This specific law suit it aimed at recovering the costs of climate change, based on the knowledge that these oil companies have known about the dangers of climate change caused by their products for decades, and not only took no action, they squelched the research. They acted like the tobacco companies, funding the public relations creation of doubt in the actual science. For that alone they should pay.
“In this litigation, 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,” reads the lawsuit, brought by New York corporation counsel Zachary Carter and filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
New York joins a few California municipalities in attempting these law suits.
“We’re using this moment to send a message to the world,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “We believe a green economy is a thriving economy.”
Bill McKibben, an author and co-founder of the climate advocacy group 350.org, praised the city’s actions Wednesday.
“I’ve been watching the climate fight for the last 30 years,” McKibben told reporters. “This is one of the handful of most important moments in that 30-year fight.”
These lawsuits may not amount to anything, but they’re long awaited gestures in the right direction. In countries that aren’t as in the thrall of those large companies, the threats to our future and the obvious economic benefits of renewables were embraced earlier and have moved forward encouragingly. The movement towards renewable energy technologies in the U.S. has been remarkable, but would have been more comprehensive with the dedication of federal and state governments to a clean future, like those other countries did.
The costs of a fascist, corporatist country are dear.
It would also help if the media didn’t mimic the values of the government.