Climate Action

12 major cities commit to divest from fossil fuel companies

12 cities have made a pledge to divest from fossil fuel companies as part of their commitment to accelerating a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

  • 25 September 2020
  • Joana Costa Figueira

Cities sign on to a new declaration committing to building moment for fossil-free and sustainable investment.

Berlin, Bristol, Cape Town, Durban, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Pittsburgh and Vancouver sign C40’s ‘Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in a Sustainable Future Declaration’.

The 12 cities pledge to divest from fossil fuel companies and advocate for greater sustainable investment, as part of their commitment to accelerating a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

Led by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, the declaration focuses on fossil fuel-free, green finance as a key strategy for rebuilding equitable, sustainable urban economies and increasing resilience against future crises.

“Now is the time to divest from fossil fuel companies and undertake investment and policy change that prioritises public and planetary health, building back a more equal society and addressing this climate emergency”, said Bill de Blasio.

Cities signing on to the new declaration commit to divesting city assts from fossil fuel companies and increasing financial investments in climate solutions to help promote jobs and a just and green economy. Calling on pension funds to also divest from said companies and increase financial investments in climate solutions. Advocating for fossil-free and sustainable finance by other investors at all levels of government, including by promoting the importance of strong, long-term climate policies and demanding greater transparency.

According to Energy Policy Tracker, more than $200bn in COVID-19 recovery funds are being pledged to fossil fuels, though investments in coal, oil and gas. Continued investment in fossil fuels drives emissions that endanger the Paris Agreement goals and threatens to lock carbon emissions into economies. 

In order to achieve these goals, cities will use their influence to drive high-return investments in the green economy, which are already estimated to yield average returns of 6.9 percent per year for sustainable funds. These strategies have the potential to create jobs, safeguard against climate risk, and facilitate a decisive shift to the clean energy economy.

The International Energy agency predicts that the demand for oil will fall by 9 percent, coal by 8 percent and gas by 5 percent. Solar energy is expected to grow by 16 percent and wind by 12 percent, representing an enormous opportunity for economic growth.

Prior to the C40 ‘Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in a Sustainable Future’, Mayor Khan and Mayor de Blasio established the Divest/Invest Forum, a first-of-its-kind partnership network devoted to helping urban leaders accelerate effective, efficient divestment and green investment.

“Global collaboration will help us shift away from fossil fuels, confront challenges and drive climate action”, said Khan. “As the world recovers from COVID-19, we need to work together to ensure a fairer, fossil-fuel-free green recovery.”

“Our declaration makes a clear statement: if we’re serious about a sustainable, just, and prosperous future, we have to put our money where our mouth is, remove public dollars from companies harming the Earth, and power our cities with bold investments in low-carbon industries,” said C40 Chair and Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti.