New York City plans to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue oil companies

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on both climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell – to federal court due to their contribution to climate change.

Court documents state that New York has suffered from flooding and erosion due to climate change and because of looming future threats it is seeking to “shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat”.

The court filing claims that just 100 fossil fuel producers are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution, with the five targeted companies the largest contributors.

The case will also point to evidence that firms such as Exxon knew of the impact of climate change for decades, only to downplay and even deny this in public. New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is investigating Exxon over this alleged deception.

New York was badly rattled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and faces costs escalating into the tens of billions of dollars in order to protect low-lying areas such as lower Manhattan and the area around JFK airport from being inundated by further severe storms fueled by rising sea levels and atmospheric warming. De Blasio’s office said climate change is “perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades”.

New York’s lawsuit echoes a similar effort on the west coast, where two California counties and a city are suing 37 fossil fuel companies for knowingly emitting dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. One of those firms, Exxon, has complained that it has been targeted by a “collection of special interests and opportunistic politicians” as part of a “conspiracy” to force the company to comply with various political objectives.

The legal action and the divestment draw perhaps the starkest dividing line yet between New York and the Trump administration on climate change. Under Trump, the federal government has attempted the withdraw the US from the Paris climate accords, tear up Barack Obama’s signature climate policies and open up vast areas of America’s land and waters to coal, oil and gas interests.

De Blasio and the city comptroller, Scott Stringer, have come under pressure for several years from activists to rid New York’s pension funds of any link to fossil fuels, with some environmentalists claiming the city has been too slow to use its clout to tackle climate change.

Stringer admitted the divestment will be “complex” and will take some time but said the city’s pension funds could promote sustainability while also protecting the retirement of teachers, police officers and other city workers.

“New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate group 350.org.

“With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous – it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court.”

Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief and architect of the Paris climate agreement, added: “The exponential transition toward a fossil-fuel-free economy is unstoppable and local governments have a critical role to play. There is no time to lose.

“It’s therefore extremely encouraging to see NYC step up today to safeguard their city and exercise their role as investors to protect their beneficiaries from climate-risk.”

New York joins cities such as Washington DC and Cape Town in divesting, along with universities such as Stanford in California and Oxford in the UK. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, notable for its links to the past oil wealth of John D Rockefeller, has also sought to divest.

Why we can not have nice things: dockless bikes and also the tragedy from the commons

If there’s one sad proven fact that technologies have trained us, it’s maybe that people just can’t have nice things. Now Washington Electricity is just about the latest testing ground for which occurs when technology and good intentions satisfy the real life.

Brightly coloured bikes started appearing round the US capital in September like little adverts for any better world. On the recent trip two lemon yellow bikes were propped in the fall sun through the slide carousel around the Mall. A set of lime eco-friendly bikes added a a little colour to some gray corner of DuPont Circle. An orange and silver bike anxiously waited excitedly because of its rider outdoors the George Washington College Hospital.

The untethered bikes all belong to a different generation of “dockless” bike share companies. To purchase one users download an application that shows in which the bikes happen to be left. Scan a QR code in your phone, the bike unlocks and you’re off for any $1 30-minute carbon-free ride. Unlike docking rental services, which require bikes to become came back to some fixed docking station, you are able to leave your ride wherever your trip ends, practically. And within lies the issue.

Dockless bikes wait for their riders in Washington DC. Dockless bikes watch for their riders in Washington Electricity. Photograph: Dominic Rushe for that Observer

Behind this bucolic scene is really a multibillion-dollar cutthroat fight that’s pitching a couple of China’s most effective tech companies against Plastic Valley-backed rivals along with a system which has demonstrated, let’s say, problematic, in other metropolitan areas.

DC’s dockless bike experiment is really a beta test made to tell you April the coming year. It appears to become working superbly. The town already has near to 4,000 docked bikes serving 2 million-plus riders annually using its Capital Bikeshare system. To date the businesses offering dockless bikes – China’s Mobike and Ofo and also the US-backed LimeBike, Spin and Jump – only have been permitted to place as much as 400 bikes each around the roads. That’s six bike companies for any town of approximately 680,000 people – not every one of them bicyclists. At current levels the bikes are fairly off traffic but all of the information mill keen to grow. LimeBike’s founder Candice Sun has stated he’d want to see 20,000 dockless bikes within the city.

Sadly in other metropolitan areas this eco-friendly – and citizen-free – means to fix urban transport issues has switched right into a surreal nightmare.

In China, where you can find some 16 million shared bikes in the pub and MoBike alone presently has more than a million, the government bodies happen to be made to obvious up ziggurats of discarded bikes. Residents of Hangzhou grew to become so inflammed by bikes lazily dumped by riders, and apparently sabotaged by angry cab motorists, the government bodies were made to gather 23,000 bikes and dump them in 16 corrals round the city.

“There’s no feeling of decency anymore,Inches one Beijing resident lately told the brand new You are able to Occasions after locating a bike ditched inside a plant outdoors his home. “We treat one another like opponents.”

A Chinese mechanic from bike share company Ofo stands amongst a pile of thousands of damaged bicycles in need of repair. A Chinese auto technician from bike share company Ofo stands among a stack of a large number of broken bicycles looking for repair. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Within the United kingdom bikes happen to be hacked, vandalized and tossed on railway tracks. Around Australia dumped bikes happen to be mangled into pavement blocking sculptures – possibly inside a homage to technology’s commitment of “creative destruction”.

Utteeyo Dasgupta, assistant financial aspects professor at Wagner College in New You are able to, stated the bike dilemma had some similarities towards the “tragedy from the commons” – the economical theory that folks utilizing a shared resource frequently act according to their personal interests and also to the hindrance from the shared resource.

There’s two distinct “abusers” within the situation of dockless bikes – riders and vandals. Within the situation of riders, problems could be exacerbated by competing bike companies flooding the marketplace with bikes to be able to win share of the market. “The tipping point will probably come when there are plenty of bikes that every user stops internalizing the price of not receiving a bicycle,Inches he stated. With bikes literally littering the road, riders dwindle conscious of methods they treat the bikes where they leave them when there’s always another to get.

The 2nd number of users, vandals, really are a different matter and something better worked with legally and order than apps or financial aspects. However, stated Dasguppta, demand and supply rules apply. The greater bikes you will find, the greater possibilities for vandals.

As dockless bikes spread over the US nobody is more going to make certain decorum is maintained in Electricity compared to companies distributing them. “Biggest concern I hear is parking likely to seem like,Inches states LimeBike’s Maggie Gendron, director of proper development along with a former legislative assistant to Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahy. Officials “might not always want bikes all around the street”, she states.

An unknown artist creates mural in a lane way in Melbourne, Australia from dockless bikes. A mystery artist creates mural inside a laneway in Melbourne, Australia, from dockless bikes. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

But metropolitan areas too “are in a tipping point”, she states. They don’t want more cars downtown and they’re searching for responsible transportation solutions that may ease congestion. Dockless bikes provide a solution free of charge towards the city, freeing money for other investments. The businesses are wishing technology can mind from the excesses other metropolitan areas have observed. Bikes can’t be kept in bad parking spots – outdoors city monuments as well as in security zones for instance. MoBike yet others punish poor parkers by growing the things they purchase rides after which knocking them from the system when they offend too frequently. But there’s little to prevent vandals and thieves doing the things they will using the vulnerable two-wheeled steeds aside from common decency. Important no tech company appears to possess developed an application for yet.

And also the fight for supremacy means inevitably more bikes will quickly finish DC’s dockless bike paradise. MoBike and Ofo have elevated greater than $1bn each from investors this season alone. LimeBike, began in The month of january, has elevated $62m from investors including Andressen Horowitz, which counts Skype, Twitter and Instagram among its others among its former proteges. Bike wars are here.

Outdoors the White-colored House Wijnand Vanderwerf has witnessed the negative side of bikes firsthand. Watching a protest (unrelated) and sitting astride a MoBike he stated he loved the service in Electricity however that it might never operate in his native Holland. He already has three bikes (one for that city, one for extended rides along with a spare for visitors) and thus do the majority of his buddies. “There’d be nowhere to fit them,” he states.