Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan hold a forum at LaGuardia Community College in Queens to discuss building inclusive cities on Sept.18, 2016. (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

'Seriously Big Deal' as NYC and London Mayors Call on Cities Worldwide to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Declaration from Bill de Blasio and Sadiq Khan comes between weekend #RiseForClimate actions and ahead of a global climate summit in San Francisco

Jessica Corbett

Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and on the heels of more than 250,000 people around the world joining the weekend's #RiseForClimate demonstrations, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan published an op-ed on Monday calling on all cities to divest their assets from fossil fuel companies and to take bold action to address the climate crisis.

"Okay, this is a seriously big deal... Momentum!"
—Bill McKibben,

"We believe that ending institutional investment in companies that extract fossil fuels and contribute directly to climate change can help send a very powerful message that renewables and low-carbon options are the future," they wrote in the Guardian. "Both our cities are also investing in a sustainable future."

In addition to outlining the cities' specific efforts on both fronts, the op-ed also announced that "working through the C40 Climate Leadership Group, London and New York will co-chair the Cities Divest/Invest forum, a global network for cities that will not only enable us to share tools, knowledge, and experiences, but also to advocate for action on divestment and green investment."

Many climate campaigners celebrated the mayors' call to action, including co-founder and longtime divestment advocate Bill McKibben, who tweeted: "Okay, this is a seriously big deal. The mayors of New York and London are challenging every other city on the planet to join them in divesting from fossil fuel. Momentum!"

His group noted the op-ed comes after the #RiseForClimate actions, which featured the West Coast's largest ever climate march in San Francisco, the location of the upcoming summit:

While advocates welcomed the op-ed, they have, at times, criticized officials in both cities for not going far enough to address the worldwide climate crisis—much like California's Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who is hosting the San Francisco summit and is under pressure from voters, activists, and other politicians from his state to match his promises with pioneering action.

"As mayors, we are not only committed to taking bold action to tackle climate change and to improve the lives of those we represent, but also to showing others the way."
—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan

California has spent the summer battling massive, historic wildfires that experts say are and will continue to be made worse by the the global crisis—along with temperature increases, dangerous heat waves, intense rain events, and more, according to a recent report by the state's scientists. But California is not alone in facing this—in the words of Brown—"apocolyptic threat."

Pointing to findings that Europe's summer heat wave was made more than twice as likely by climate change, and the "growing evidence" that ties the crisis to other extreme weather," the mayors wrote: "This summer it seemed as if our two cities had changed places. London was hot and dry while New York had days and days of rain."

"It's clear that what we think of now as freak weather in our cities is likely to become the new normal, and that climate change poses a huge threat to the futures of our children, and many generations to come," they concluded. "As mayors, we are not only committed to taking bold action to tackle climate change and to improve the lives of those we represent, but also to showing others the way."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Trump Turns to SCOTUS Over Mar-a-Lago Docs, But 'It Won't Stop DOJ'

"This is a very specific and narrow request by Trump the merits of which turn on a technical jurisdictional question, but which runs into fatal procedural obstacles long before that," said one analyst. "It's not laughable, but only because it's small."

Jessica Corbett ·

Despite Calls for Diplomacy to End War, US Confirms More Weapons Headed to Ukraine

"Are there still negotiation possibilities?" asked Noam Chomsky. "There's only one way to find out. That's to try. If you refuse to try, of course, there's no option, no possibilities."

Brett Wilkins ·

Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut 'Foundational' Digital Rights Law

"Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Report Reveals How Utilities' Climate Pledges Amount to 'Textbook Greenwashing'

Despite the passage of nearly $370 billion in renewable energy funding, the nation's utilities are squandering "a massive opportunity for clean electricity and electrification."

Julia Conley ·

$158,000 Cost for ALS Treatment Called 'A Poster Child' for Unjust Drug Pricing

"The price of the newly approved drug combination Relyvrio to treat ALS," said one critic, "is yet another clear and powerful example of unjustified high prices set by drug companies that ultimately exploit patients."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo