New York City filed a federal lawsuit against five major oil companies for their alleged role in climate change.
The lawsuit seeks to recover billions of dollars to fund climate change resiliency measures, and the city claims it needs to protect the city and its residents from the impacts of climate change, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The city also announced Wednesday it would divest the city’s five pension funds of about $5 billion in fossil fuels investments out of its nearly $190 billion total.
“The city seeks to shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat,” the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York reads, according to the New York Post.
Court documents also allege that the defendants have produced more than 11 percent of the world’s carbon and methane pollution caused by industrial sources, since the start of the industrial revolution, the Post reported.
A spokesperson for Shell told The Hill that the courtroom is not the place to handle global warming issues.
Scott Silvestri, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, told the AP that it has made attempts to address climate change and that lawsuits don’t accomplish that goal.
Gas Prices Wipe Out Small Middle Class Tax Break
As gas prices continue rising across the United States, it is becoming more clear that – particularly for lower-income Americans – the meager benefits of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts will be swallowed by increases at the pump.
Whether or to what extent Trump’s policies are to blame is open for debate, but the reality is that heading into this year’s midterm elections, one of the Republican party’s biggest talking points could be losing what little power it might have had in the beginning.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles data looking at how much households spend on gas. On average in 2016, consumers spent the equivalent of a bit over 3 percent of their household incomes on gas. That wasn’t uniformly the case; wealthier consumers spent a lower percentage of their incomes on gas even as they bought more of it. The highest percentage spent was by middle-income Americans.
A gallon of gas currently costs about 78 cents more than the 2016 average of $2.14, and if this increase holds, the Post notes that Americans will spend on average about $700 more on gas this year.
Viewing this increased spending on gas alongside Trump’s tax cuts shows just how quickly the extra cash realized by lower- and middle-income Americans will disappear:
The Tax Policy Center calculated how much people in various income groups would be expected to see in federal tax cuts thanks to the new tax law passed last year. In many cases, the expected cuts are minor. If we compare those expected cuts to how much more a household might pay in gas costs,* using the increase from Trump’s first week in office until now, the results are remarkable.
Those in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners will pay three or four times more in higher gas prices than they’ll get back in tax cuts. Those in the next highest quintile of incomes will see a wash — getting back about as much as they pay in higher gas prices.
Facebook Will Now Require Social Security Numbers
Facebook users in the U.S. who want to buy certain ads will now have to provide the last four digits of their Social Security number.
It is all about confirming a buyer’s identity and attaching a “paid for by” tag to the ads, according to WPTV.
Users who want to buy certain ads will have to identify themselves by providing the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Those who want to buy these kinds of ads will also need to give Facebook a picture of a government-issued ID and provide a U.S. mailing address.
Facebook says it will use all this information to confirm the ad buyer’s identity and then delete it.
The company also says approved ads will be identified with a “paid for by” tag.
The new guidelines for political ads comes as the social media giant is reeling from revelations related to alleged Russian election interference and the improper accessing of its users data.
This month, the House Intelligence Committee released a cache of more than 3,000 ads purchased by the Internet Research Agency, a pro-Kremlin group that purchased political advertising on Facebook in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took his apology tour to Brussels on Tuesday.
He faced questions about the scandal over improper use of millions of Facebook users’ data.
He defended his company over the misuse of data by the British company Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy that worked on the Trump presidential campaign.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal affected up to 87 million users and prompting several apologies from Zuckerberg and generated calls for regulation and for users to leave the social network.
Novartis Drug Company May Have Bribed Cohen to Reach Trump
Novartis AG is among the companies reacting to reports that they made payments to a consulting company created by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
And the Swiss drugmaker’s response is essentially that its deal with Cohen’s Essential Consultants has nothing to do with its current management team.
“In February 2017, Novartis entered into a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants shortly after the election of President Trump,” and the deal was “focused on U.S. health-care policy matters,” Novartis said in a statement.
“The terms were consistent with the market. The agreement expired in February 2018,” the company added.
“The engagement of Essential Consultants predated Vas Narasimhan becoming Novartis CEO. Dr. Narasimhan had no involvement whatsoever with this arrangement.”
Narasimhan became the drugmaker’s CEO on Feb. 1, taking the reins from Joe Jimenez. Jimenez stepped down after leading the pharmaceutical giant through a tumultuous eight years marked by big patent expiries and intensifying scrutiny on drug pricing in the U.S.
Before scoring the CEO job, Narasimhan served as the company’s global head of drug development and chief medical officer. He joined Novartis NOVN, -0.85% in 2005 after a stint with consultancy McKinsey & Co.
The reports about companies paying Cohen’s firm have come as a memo on the topic was released on Twitter by Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for former porn star Stephanie Clifford. Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, has alleged she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
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