new york city

The Big Apple Loses to Big Oil as Judge Dismisses Climate Liability Suit

Read time: 4 mins
Flooded MTA train in New York after Hurricane Sandy

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

A federal judge ruled on Thursday in favor of a motion by five big oil companies to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by New York City, which demanded they pay the costs of adapting the city's infrastructure to climate changeThe New York Times reported.

The ruling comes nearly a month after a federal judge in San Francisco dismissed a similar case brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco.

New York City Will Divest Pension Funds from Fossil Fuel Companies

Read time: 6 mins
Simulation showing flooding in New York City

Today New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a goal to divest New York City’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners within five years. This makes New York the first major American city to announce such a move.

According to a statement, the city’s five pension funds have approximately $5 billion invested in over 190 fossil fuel companies.

“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” said Mayor de Blasio. “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.”

Storms Hit Poorer People Harder, From Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Maria

Read time: 8 mins
Hurricane Sandy flooding houses in New York with an American flag

By Chris Sellers, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York)

The ferocious “frankenstorm” known as Sandy that ripped through greater New York City five years ago remains one for the record books. Like this year’s hurricane season, it racked up tens of billions of dollars in economic damages.

Superstorm Sandy had another close, yet underappreciated, similarity to this year’s hurricanes: less affluent groups of people suffered more, both in the initial damage and recovery.

Former Inspectors Describe Dangerous Flaws in Construction of Major East Coast Gas Pipeline

Read time: 14 mins

In April, a massive explosion ripped through rural Salem Township, Pennsylvania when natural gas from a pipeline buried in a field suddenly ignited.

The Salem Township explosion offers a glimpse at how dangerous a natural gas pipeline accident can be — the blast when the 30-inch pipeline ignited blew a 12-foot deep hole in the ground and scorched 40 acres, sending one man to the hospital with burns on 75 percent of his body.

“It looked like you were looking down into hell,” a local fire chief, Bob Rosatti, told ABC News. “As far across my windshield as I could see was just a massive fireball.”

Photos From NYC Climate Action March Last Weekend In Solidarity With Paris COP21

Read time: 2 mins
NYC climate march by Zach Roberts

This is a guest photo essay by Zach Roberts.

While peaceful climate change protesters were being hit with tear gas and pepper spray in Paris over the weekend, hundreds marched around New York City city hall in a quiet demonstration of solidarity. The People's Climate Movement of New York organized the march in the Big Apple after French authorities banned the big climate march planned for Sunday November 29, the day before the UN COP21 Climate Talks kicked off.

“It is even more important that around the world our voices are heard,” the organizers said in announcing more than 2,300 climate actions in over 150 cities over the weekend. 

Climate Justice Movement Highlights Women as 'Key' to Climate Solutions

Read time: 4 mins

Women from around the world are mobilising today to call for action on climate change as international leaders meet in New York at the United Nations General Assembly.

“There is no climate justice without gender justice,” the movement argues. Solutions and policy demands will be presented in New York City as part of the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action in an effort to highlight the reality that while women are among those most severely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, women are also the “key to creating climate solutions.”

The aim is to get political officials to agree “equitable, immediate, and bold action on climate change” as we enter the final two months before the COP21 climate change negotiations in Paris in December. At this time, the Women’s Climate Declaration will be presented to world governments.

In Photos: Record-Breaking Crowd of 400K Marches For Climate Justice in New York

Read time: 2 mins
People's Climate March

More than 400,000 people took to the streets to have their voices heard at the People's Climate March yesterday in New York City. The record-breaking crowd took up 27 blocks in total, from West 86th street to Columbus Circle.

Photographer Zach Roberts was there to document the biggest climate change march in history for DeSmogBlog. Here are some of his best shots.

People's Climate March

New York City is Amped for The People’s Climate March

Read time: 3 mins
Peoples Climate March by Chris Stain

The People’s Climate March” is quickly approaching.  The level of organization for Sunday's event is more impressive than any other rally — climate or otherwise — this writer has ever witnessed in New York City. Organizers have predicted some 100,000 people will march, making it not only the largest climate rally in history, but very likely one of the largest public rallies in support of any issue in the United States in decades.  

Posters, flyers and billboards about the rally are everywhere; this writer noticed the following posters all across lower Manhattan while running a few random errands:

USE Union Square.jpg
Poster at 3rd Avenue near Union Square. Photo by Don Lieber. 

Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects

Read time: 8 mins

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Initially filed as a February 2008 petition to CEQ by the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) when George W. Bush still served as President, it had been stalled for years. 

Six and a half years later and another term into the Obama Administration, however, things have finally moved forward. Or backwards, depending on who you ask. 

NEPA and CEQ

The initial February 2008 legal petition issued by the plaintiffs was rather simple: the White House's Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) should provide guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to weigh climate change impacts when utilizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on energy policy decisions. 

A legal process completely skirted in recent prominent tar sands pipeline cases by both TransCanada and Enbridge, NEPA is referred to by legal scholars as the “Magna Carta” of environmental law.

Magna Carta; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

CEQ oversees major tenets of environmental, energy and climate policy. It often serves as the final arbiter on many major legislative pushes proposed by Congress and federal agencies much in the same way the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) does for regulatory policy. 

Responding to Investor Pressure, ExxonMobil Agrees to Disclose Fracking Risks

Read time: 4 mins

ExxonMobil, the nation's largest oil and gas company, will begin disclosing risks associated with shale drilling and fracking to investors, in response to a long-running campaign by a coalition of shareholders.

In February, the groups of investors in a handful of major oil and gas companies including Exxon, Chevron and EOG Resources, demanded for the fifth year in a row more information from companies about the risks associated with fracking. The motion won the support of over 30 percent of Exxon shareholders — an unusually strong showing for a shareholder resolution.

On Thursday, the investors’ coalition announced that Exxon was the first company to agree to disclose risks. The company will publish a report by September that will describe fracking’s potential harm to air quality, water and roads, as well as risks associated with the chemicals used. Exxon agreed to follow criteria identified in a 2013 report, cited by the coalition and called Disclosing the Facts: Transparency and Risk in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations, in which Exxon received a failing grade for its transparency.

We have seen the significant risks that come from hydraulic fracturing activities,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, custodian and investment advisor for the New York City Pension Funds’ $144 billion in assets, including $1.02 billion in ExxonMobil stock. “Corporate transparency in this arena is truly necessary for assessing risk and ensuring that all stakeholders have the information they need to make informed decisions.”

However, Exxon’s first report will not disclose data on methane leaks – information that shareholders argued strongly should be made public. Natural gas is primarily made of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has climate changing effects over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide during the first two decades after it escapes to the Earth’s atmosphere.

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