New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants his city to know that he is committed to fighting against a threat far more important than terrorism to the citizens under his watch — and he's willing to play games with the pensions of city employees to do it.
On Wednesday, the mayor tweeted out an image of the Empire State Building "shining green" to announce his commitment to combating global warming and his decision to #DivestNY pensions from fossil fuel companies.
"The Empire State Building is shining green tonight because it's time to put our planet first," he wrote.
As the official website of the City of New York reports, de Blasio and the other trustees of the city's massive $189 billion pension funds announced on Wednesday that they were going to divest the city funds from fossil fuel reserve owners over the next five years in what they promised will be a "responsible" way.
Around $5 billion of the city's' five pension funds are currently invested in 190 fossil fuel companies. The move is a part of de Blasio's larger campaign to combat climate change, in part as a #resistance to President Trump backing out of the Paris climate accords, which de Blasio is unilaterally maintaining despite the federal government's withdrawal.
"New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major US city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels," Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday. "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."
Comptroller Scott Stringer was also quite proud of the political games they were playing with the city's pension funds.
"This is a first-in-the-nation step to protect our future and our planet – for this generation and the next," said Stringer. "Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers, firefighters and city workers is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet. Our announcement sends a message to the world that a brighter economy rests on being green."
The city provides some more details on de Blasio & Co's plans to use city funds to fight global warming:
New York City’s lawsuit seeks to recover the billions needed to fund climate change resiliency measures that the City needs to implement to protect the City, its property, and its residents from the ongoing and increasingly severe impacts of climate change. This includes physical infrastructure, like coastal protections, upgraded water and sewer infrastructure, and heat mitigation, but also public health campaigns, for example to help protect residents from the effects of extreme heat. To recover from past harm and prepare for future events, New York City is already executing an over $20 billion resiliency program to protect New Yorkers and build resilience against rising seas, more powerful storms, and hotter temperatures.