"As climate change continues to worsen, it's up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making NY safer and more resilient", said de Blasio.
Representatives from Exxon, Chevron, BP and Conoco did not respond to requests for comment.
Mayor de Blasio and City Controller Scott Stringer plan to announce at a press conference Wednesday that the city's pension funds will aim to divest from $5 billion in investments of more than 190 fossil fuel companies within five years.
In a statement about plans to divest, de Blasio said New York City is "standing up for future generations by becoming the first major United States city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels. By seeking damages for the investments necessary to protect New Yorkers from the impacts of climate change, and divesting our pension funds from fossil fuel reserves, we are taking the largest action by any city to confront the growingclimate crisis and demonstrate the leadership necessary to win this fight against fossil fuels and the damages they've caused".
A Shell spokesman said the company believes "climate change is a complex societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change to drive low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers, not by the courts".
The lawsuit was the latest of NY officials' moves to oppose fossil fuels. Earlier this week, Exxon launched a counterassault, claiming that California municipalities failed to disclose to municipal bond investors the imminent threat from climate change that they detailed in their oil lawsuits.
In response to the California lawsuits, Exxon recently asked a federal judge in Texas to allow the company to depose municipal officials involved with the suits, arguing that depositions would allow the company to uncover "abuse of process, civil conspiracy and violations of Exxon Mobil's constitutional rights".
Mayor de Blasio (pictured) and City Controller Scott Stringer plan to sue five big oil companies charging they are responsible for global warming that has cost the city billions.
"New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet", said Bill McKibben, co-founder of environmental group 350.org, in a statement. The funds invest the pensions of hundreds of thousands of active and retired city teachers, firefighters, police officers and other employees.
The city's move also follows New York State's announcement last month that it was putting forth a "a de-carbonization roadmap" that included divesting from fossil fuels.
Various other USA cities have committed to divest their fossil fuel holdings.