Fossil Fuel Divestment: Colleges & Universities
Colleges and universities are leading the way. Students have always been key to movements of conscience, and this fight is no different. Institutions of higher education are charged with preparing their students for lifetimes of work and service. But if those institutions are invested in fossil fuel companies, then students’ educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won't have much of a planet on which to make use of their degrees. Colleges and universities rush to launch greening initiatives, sustainability offices, and environmental curricula, but it makes no sense to green the campus and not the portfolio. Fossil fuel divestment is a reasonable next step -- and it’s the right thing to do.
Divest New York City from Fossil Fuels!
Hurricane Sandy decimated the New York City area, causing $65 billion in damage, causing power outages, destroying homes and leaving a path of wreckage from the Rockaways to Riverside Park. It's time for NYC to stop investing our pension funds in oil, gas and coal, and go fossil free! We know that Sandy was fueled in part by Atlantic waters that were 5 degrees warmer than average, a result of human-induced climate change. Our city government is taking steps to make our city an example of low-carbon urban living, from painting bike lanes to mandating energy retrofits -- and much much more must be done. And yet, New York City's pension funds for city employees, teachers, police, firemen and school employees are all invested in coal, oil and gas companies that dump carbon into the atmosphere for free, and rig the political system so that they can continue to do so. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. After Hurricane Sandy, New York City should be a shining light in the fight to combat climate change -- to do that, it's pension funds must divest from fossil fuels. A report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative has claimed that the world can only burn 800 more gigatonnes of carbon equivalent and stay under the two degree Celsius limit. A recent analysis of the world's current fossil fuel reserves, drawing on research by Oil Change International, has shown that if the world were to burn all current fossil fuel resources, then it would burn 982 gigatonnes of carbon equivalent. This means that we can no longer develop and build fossil fuel infrastructure; the age of fossil fuels must end immediately, if we have any hope of staying under two degrees Celsius. Our pension funds must follow suit and knowing that there can be no world in which the fossil fuel companies persist, we call upon New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to commit to immediately freeze all investments in fossil fuel companies and divest the pension funds from these companies within five years. Read more about the need to divest and end all fossil fuel infrastructure here https://newrepublic.com/article/136987/recalculating-climate-math Over 3000 people from New York City have signed petitions calling upon Comptroller Stringer to divest the New York City pension funds from all fossil fuel holdings. To get involved in the campaign, go to 350nyc.org
University of Redlands: Go Fossil Free!
Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on University of Redlands to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of University of Redlands will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
Start a Campaign to Divest From Fossil Fuels!We're all part of institutions that ought to be looking out for the public good, from city and state governments to religious institutions to other kinds of charities and non-profits. Most of these institutions invest money in stocks and bonds, and have a responsibility to divest from an industry that’s destroying our future.
Fossil Free is an international campaign calling on institutions to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in solutions to climate change. Learn more at gofossilfree.org.
Getting StartedYou don’t need 51% of your community on board to win a campaign, but public support counts. Run a petition to show that there is support for fossil fuel divestment (it’s also a great way to build up your group). Getting started is simple:
Step 1: Use the map above to search for a campaign that's already happening in your area. If you locate one, sign on and join the effort!
Step 2: If you don't see a campaign for your city, state or institution, consider starting one as a first step. You'll be able to promote your petition, gather signatures, and email those who have signed to gather support for your campaign. Host events, debates, and film nights to educate your peers about the issue, or plan a creative action to make divestment the cool thing happening in your community.
Not Ready to Start a Petition Yet?If you don't know right away where to get started, talk and meet with your friends, neighbors and coworkers about starting a campaign, and do a little research to find out who has the power to give you what you want. Remember to think outside the box about who to meet with: a diversity of experiences and opinions often makes a campaign stronger. As you build local support, you’ll be able to bring a team together to help drive your campaign forward.
Find more resources here.