New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a huge announcement last week in the fight to stop climate change. He announced that New York will divest the city’s pension funds from the fossil fuel industry, a move that the City of Cape Town committed to in July 2017. As if the nearly $ 200 billion commitment was not big enough, Mayor de Blasio also announced a lawsuit against some of the biggest oil and gas companies for the damage caused by climate change.
New York’s announcement comes hot on the heels of major announcements made by France to ban new oil and gas in its territories, and the World Banks pledge to stop funding fossil fuel projects around the world. The announcement demonstrates that momentum is on the side of climate action by supporting widely held views that fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for their impact on climate change and be made to pay their share.
As the expansion of coal mining and fracking threaten South Africa’s water resources, we have to seriously reconsider our actions regarding development and energy security and steer away from extractive processes that exacerbate the social, economic and ecological pressures associated with climate change.
The Cape Town water crisis is set to intensify with Day Zero soon approaching. Bold leadership is needed to slow the effects of climate change, and for this to happen, action, both big and small is required. Cape Town has stepped up by committing to divest, but while the impacts of climate change affect us locally, the contributors can be anywhere. With Cape Town suffering the impacts now, other municipalities, institutions and individuals should play their part by divesting. We don’t know who will be suffering the next water crisis, landslide or hurricane. We need to take the fight to fossil fuel companies that have known about the impact of climate change for years and misled the public to continue profiting from fossil fuels. Divestment is one way to fight back.
Get involved with the Fossil Free movement by calling on communities, cities, governments and institutions to ban all new coal, oil and gas projects, committing to a rapid, just transition towards 100% for all and divesting from and defund fossil fuel projects. Stand with us and sign the Fossil Free pledge here.