Fossil Free Universities Australia

Currently Australian Universities invest millions of dollars in the fossil fuel industry through direct shares and endowments. These are universities that not only pride themselves on sustainable but also lead the way on research into climate change. Their continued support of the fossil fuel industry is risking our climate while also risking the future of their students, their reputation as well as their investment returns.

Despite the clear case for divestment our universities in Australia are being slow to move. There are now over 15 campaigns across Australia building the support of students, academics and alumni calling on universities to divest from fossil fuels.

Find a campaign at your university below.

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Campaigns (18)

  • Divest Deakin University From Fossil Fuels
    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, floods and cyclones, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. 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.
    216 of 300 Signatures
    Created by Lois Newman
  • 1 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Vicky Fysh
  • Divest the University of Notre Dame Sydney Australia from Fossil Fuels
    The consensus for action on climate change is overwhelming. Over 97% of climate scientists globally[2] , the CSIRO[3], United Nations, the Australian Academy of Science [3] and every major national science academy in the industrialised world [5] agree the planet is warming and the observed changes are almost certainly caused by human green house gas emissions and they agree that we need to act now. Virtually every government has acknowledged the threat of climate change and have agreed that we must limit an increase in global temperature to 2 degrees. Amongst the health profession, the World Health Organisation[6], the Australian Medical Association[7], Australian Medical Students' Association[8], Australian College Rural Remote Medicine[9], Australian Nursing Federation[10], Australian Physiotherapists Association[11], Australian Psychological Society[12], Public Health Association of Australia[13], Royal Australian college of Physicians[14], Australian healthcare and hospitals association[15], Members of the Climate And Health Alliance (CAHA)[16] and members of the Global Green and healthy hospitals network[17], all agree that this is an issue that we need to address now. Climate change is responsible for the deaths of 400,000 people globally each year and is costing the global economy $1.2 trillion annually[18]. References: (All last accessed: 21st May, 2013) [1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis [2] http://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107 [3] http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/Climate/Understanding.aspx [4] http://science.org.au/policy/climatechange-g8+5.html [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Statements_by_scientific_organizations_of_national_or_international_standing [6] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/index.html [7] https://ama.com.au/node/4442 [8] http://media.amsa.org.au/policy/2010/2010_climate_change_and_health_policy.pdf [9] https://www.acrrm.org.au/country-watch-6-january [10] http://anf.org.au/documents/policies/PS_Climate_Change.pdf [11] http://www.physiotherapy.asn.au/DocumentsFolder/APAWCM/Advocacy/PositionStatement_2017_ClimateChange.pdf [12] http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/Position-statement-climate-change-August2010.pdf [13] www.phaa.net.au/documents/policy/20081006revisedClimateChange.pdf [14] http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=F30B227E-D741-D52C-7E5B74679D3F43BF [15] http://ahha.asn.au/sites/default/files/publication/15361/120726_greening_hospitals_and_healthcare_services_-_policy_brief.pdf [16] http://caha.org.au/about/members/ [17] http://greenhospitals.net/members/ [18] http://www.phaa.net.au/documents/121002Inaction%20on%20climate%20change%20now%20a%20leading%20cause%20of%20deaths%20globally.pdf See also: http://lockthecampus.org/
    4 of 100 Signatures
    Created by David Shapcott
  • 1 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Vicky Fysh
  • Divest University of Western Australia from Fossil Fuels
    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 wild fires which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. 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 the University of Western Australia 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 the University of Western Australia will be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio because it is financially (and morally) unjustified to invest in assets that will become stranded and guarantee dangerous climate change. In addition it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn both the planet to climate disaster and current and future graduating classes to a future defined by climate chaos. For the good of our students and our nation, and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon you to join a growing movement of schools around the country that are committed to preventing a more extreme climate by moving the University of Western Australia endowment beyond fossil fuels.
    341 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Matthew Curry Picture
  • Fossil Free QUT (Queensland University of Technology)
    We, the undersigned, acknowledge and applaud the important commitments Queensland University of Technology has made towards sustainability. However, we wish for QUT to take responsibility and leadership on climate change mitigation, by divesting from their fossil fuel investments. Immediate action on climate change is required if we are to avoid the worst economic, health, environmental and social impacts. Over recent years we have already seen some of these impacts including record breaking summer temperatures, devastating and more frequent cyclones and droughts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Bank and other reputable authorities all warn of a four degrees Celsius (4oC) rise in average global temperatures by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their current rate. It is clear that QUT takes its impacts on climate change seriously and are institutional leaders on the issue. However, despite QUT’s active steps towards sustainability it has come to our attention that according to QUT’s last annual report, over $254 million was invested with fund manager Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). QIC is known to invest heavily in fossil fuel assets including the likes of BHP and Origin energy. With principle 3 of the Declaration of Commitment to Sustainability being “Integrating sustainability principles into the decision making, management and operation of university business”, QUT should recognise its climate impacts through its investments and take active steps to mitigate this. As well as the identified moral risks of climate change and investments is fossil fuels there is also a significant financial risk. It has been recognised by the carbon tracker initiative that 80% of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to avoid breaching the political goal of 2 degrees of warming. These reserves are still highly valued, much of which is owned by publicly listed companies and values at over $22 trillion. These assets which are invested in by individuals, banks and institutions could become standard as the unburnable carbon is realized. Financial analysts such as The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and international organisations such as the World Bank recognise that fossil fuel assets now bear material and growing financial risks. In recent months, we have seen divestment commitments from Stanford University, the United Church in Australia and most recently at the University of Sydney, which has committed to halt further investments in Coal. We encourage QUT to show leadership on sustainability by divesting from it's fossil fuel investments.
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    Created by Hayley Troupe
  • Fossil Free Griffith University
    First we would like to acknowledge and congratulate Griffith’s University on it’s current sustainability commitments and achievements. It is recognised that environmental and social sustainability is integrated in Griffith’s governance, architecture, administration, education and research and because of this is recognised as a world leader in sustainability. This has been reflected in Griffith’s EcoCentre and Sir Samuel Griffith centre. As well as world class research provided by but not limited to the Atmospheric Environment Research Centre, the Australian Rivers Institute, the Centre for Clean Energy and the Environment, and the Environmental Futures Centre. Furthermore we also recognise, the development of the Griffith University Sustainability Plan 2013 – 2015 and Griffith’s 2020 goal ‘To be a sustainable university’. In 1975, Griffith University established the first School of Environment in Australia, making them the first university to offer a dedicated environmental science program. Since this time, Griffith University has pioneered the environmental sciences and helped establish this and other related areas of science and sustainability both in Australia and around the world. While Griffith has stated that it is committed to responsible investments we acknowledge that 5% of its investments are held within fund manager Queensland Investment Corporation and as a result is highly likely to possess investments in fossil fuels. Despite the small amount invested, we as academic members of the Griffith University community believe as a sustainability leader Griffith must divest these investments to avoid it’s contribution to climate change and associated devastating social, environmental and economic consequences. Institutions and investors are recognising the moral and financial risks associated with continued investments in fossil fuels and we encourage Griffith University to do the same. A growing number of institutions both in Australia and overseas have committed to or are taking substantial steps toward divesting from fossil fuels. These include but are far from limited too Stanford University, the United Church in Australia and most recently in Australia the University of Sydney which has committed to halt further investments in Coal. As individuals, part of the Griffith University community we implore you to take leadership in Australia by immediately freezing new investments in fossil-fuel companies, and divest from any fossil fuel investment currently held within managed funds and direct shares. If you would like to see Griffith University go Fossil Free, reflecting it’s current sustainability commitments, please sign and share this petition.
    67 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Griffith University
  • La Trobe University to Divest from Fossil Fuels
    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. For this reason, Australia needs to transition away from non-renewable energy as soon as possible, but unfortunately this is not happening fast enough. This is why we need large, reputable institutions like La Trobe University to divest from all fossil fuel companies to send a clear message to every Australian that we cannot continue ‘business as usual’. So, for the good of our students and our nation, and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon La Trobe University to divest from enterprises that extract, transport, process or distribute fossil fuels.
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    Created by Tiana Davison
  • Divest UWS from Fossil Fuels
    UWS cites a vision of "Sustainability as a CORE business", continued investment in fossil fuels is in opposition to this vision. As UWS continues to establish itself as a leader in campus sustainability, it must be ready to engage in sustainable practices at all levels-especially with regards to its investment activities. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. In this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and floods, which impacted thousands of people. 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. The health impacts of climate change will be extensive, ranging from greater amounts of heat-related illness and vector-borne disease, loss of food sources, as well as the extensive mental health issues from the changing environment. As a university with a medical school and a multitude of allied health faculties it is a responsible move to take the preventative steps to avoiding these health issues. We believe such action 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.
    18 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Todd AG Picture
  • Fossil Free UQ
    We, the undersigned, acknowledge and applaud the important commitment that UQ is making to embedding sustainability across all aspects of learning, discovery, engagement and operations. One important aspect of UQ’s ecological footprint that we would like to bring the University’s attention to is responsible financial investment. UQ’s 2012 financial statements list $105 million of UQ’s assets invested either in a managed portfolio or directly in listed and unlisted shares. It is reasonable to expect that a significant fraction of this is currently invested in companies that produce fossil fuels. It is now widely understood that we cannot safely burn even one-third of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. We are already witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in the last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and extreme rainfall. These events had a grave impact on hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country billions of dollars. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. Adopting the Brundtland definition of sustainability, continued fossil fuel extraction and consumption is inconsistent with the rights of future generations to a safe and habitable world and is therefore unsustainable. Through its current investment portfolio, UQ is facilitating and profiting from the continued and expanding extraction and burning of fossil fuels, despite the harm that these practices are known to be causing to many millions of people worldwide. Over past decades, universities have shown vision and leadership through divesting from the South African Apartheid regime, cluster munitions, and tobacco, and increasingly now from fossil fuels. We believe such action on behalf of UQ will contribute to the wellbeing of current and future students who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos. We also believe such action would be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, given falling coal and gas prices, rising costs and a high exchange rate all associated with fossil fuel projects, current and prospective. Furthermore, policies which effectively mitigate climate change pose a risk to the value of fossil fuel companies' assets. To preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon you to join a growing movement of universities and institutions around the world that have committed to preventing a more extreme climate by moving UQ’s investment portfolio beyond fossil fuels.
    1,159 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Ruby Ludski
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