New mayor advances 'Boston Green New Deal' with fossil fuel divestment plan

The city of Boston is joining the movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

Michelle Wu, Boston's newly elected mayor, signed an ordinance on Monday to require divestment of some $65 million of the city's assets from fossil fuel interests by the end of 2025.

Pitched by Wu as part of a "Boston Green New Deal," the ordinance restricts investment in any company or stock deriving more than 15% of its revenue from extracting, burning, or distributing fossil fuels. It also requires divestment from tobacco interests and private prisons.

"In this closing window of time to act, Boston must lead by taking every possible step for climate justice," said Wu.

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"This is what a Green New Deal city looks like in the United States of America," Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a chief sponsor of the congressional version of the Green New Deal, said at a signing ceremony. Markey's Green New Deal resolution calls for massive government spending to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

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Wu, a former city councilor, was among a group of activists and local government officials who signed on to a complaint against Harvard earlier this year alleging that its investments in fossil fuels violated state law governing endowment expenditures. President Lawrence Bacow announced plans in September to liquidate the institution's remaining fossil fuel-related assets.

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