New Yorkers go hard against fossil fuels, divest $215.5 billion pension funds from fossil fuels

New York, home of solar dreamers?

You got to love New Yorkers. They are real, and they are often serious. And they like to walk the walk. So New Yorkers have a lot to celebrate now that their elected mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that he will stop all new fossil fuel projects within and serving the city.

This is the largest municipal ban announcement of its in the world. building on the mounting global movement for a just transition off fossil fuels to a renewable-energy economy that works for all.

“This is a monumental step for New Yorkers in making our home a model for real climate leadership, and a massive victory for frontline communities and climate activists everywhere,” said Dominique Thomas, a  350.org organizer and New Yorker. 

“As we enter the climate decade, we need transformational climate action, and now the financial center of the world is moving to stop all new fossil fuel projects. This move invigorates us to protect our communities from all gas, oil, and coal projects, including the Williams fracked gas pipeline, and implement a Green New Deal that works for all New Yorkers.”

What will New York do?

They are taking concrete climate action by divesting its $215.5 billion pension funds from fossil fuels, enacting nation-leading legislation to slash pollution from big buildings, pursuing Exxon and other Big Oil corporations in court for climate costs and damages, while expanding investments in wind and solar.

Community resistance to fracked gas projects within and around the City continues to grow, including over 70 elected officials opposing the Williams fracked gas pipeline and tens of thousands of New Yorkers calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to stop Williams and all fracked gas projects.

A wake up call to Wall Street, living in a parallel universe

“The Mayor of New York City announcing a ban on new fossil fuel projects will reverberate across the nation and around the world as a nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel economy,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350.org North America Director. She is also a New Yorker:

“As our communities protect our health and safety by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, Wall Street banks and insurers enabling projects like Keystone XL, Line3, and coast to coast fracking need to wake up. The writing’s on the wall: move your money out of toxic fossil fuels and into real climate solutions.”

The Mayor is set to issue an executive order to implement this ban. This will be a critical step toward climate action, including ordinances, regulations, building code changes and legislation, to maximize the effectiveness of a ban and to ensure all staff and city agencies use all tools at their disposal, including how they engage in rate cases public service hearings.

In New York, utilities National Grid and Con-Ed have attempted to hold New Yorkers’ energy needs hostage, especially for small businesses, and Black and brown communities, says 350.org. We interviewed 350.org founder Bill McKibbens here.

Interview: Bracing For A Warmer Future With Bill McKibben

Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) retain overall decision-making on new and existing projects. Now, New Yorkers are escalating the demand for Cuomo to stop the Williams fracked gas pipeline once and for all, and build on this announcement by declaring a ban on new fossil fuel projects across the state.

New York – we are cool. We like you. On second thought, no. We LOVE YOU. But if you look to your rooftops, they are less than impressively energy healthy. For years the city has been talking about green roofs, but only a handful like Henry Gordon Smith from Agritecture are pulling any weight.

Where are the passive solar water heaters, solar panels for collecting power? New York – it’s good to make bold statements, but what are citizens doing locally instead of just blaming Wall Street?

What’s the next steps for the eastern West?

Use available resources from selling oil and gas and invest in renewables. There is no reason why the warm climates of North Africa, the Levant, the former Middle East, the new western east can’t make this happen –– with all the sun that shines nearly year round. What happened to Desertec?

Meet DESERTEC’s Oliver Steinmetz: Opportunities for Middle East Countries

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