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.

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Campaigns (379)

  • University of Oregon: 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. 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 eighty percent 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 Oregon 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 Oregon will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the well being of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
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    Created by Ben Wright
  • University of Utah: 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 the University of Utah 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 Utah 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.
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    Created by Matthew Kirkegaard
  • Pacific University: 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 Pacific University 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 Pacific University 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.
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    Created by Deke Gundersen Picture
  • Simon Fraser University: 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 the US and Canada experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and storms, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. And the OECD warns that Metro Vancouver is the Canadian city most at risk from sea-level rise and other climate change-related threats. 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 Simon Fraser University 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. Divestment will be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, will demonstrate SFU's commitment to lead and engage the world, and will revoke the fossil fuel industry's social license to operate.
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    Created by Josh Cairns
  • Lewis & Clark College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate scientists agree that the record breaking weather events are being caused by increases in global temperatures (2). These temperature increases have largely been the result of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. 60-80% of the existing coal, oil, and gas reserves should be left unburned (3) in order to limit global warming to less than 2°C, as signed in the Paris Climate Agreement (4). Anything above this threshold drastically increases the risks of more climate disasters. We therefore call on Lewis & Clark College to immediately freeze any new investments in the most carbon intensive fossil fuel industries, especially those on the Carbon Underground 200’s list (5) of biggest oil and gas companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include public equities and corporate bonds in these industries. With increased transparency and in collaboration with students, Lewis & Clark College should revise the Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) investment policy in order to meet these divestment goals. We believe such action on behalf of Lewis & Clark College will not only be a moral decision for the well-being of the planet, but also a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio. The recent fluctuations in fossil fuel prices make these investments unreliable. The stocks themselves are also being overvalued; the fossil fuel industry is considering their aforementioned unburnable fossil fuels as assets, when in fact they are “stranded assets” under the goals of the Paris Agreement. Divestment from fossil fuels will have adverse financial effects on the industry and will encourage a larger cultural shift in which these investments themselves carry a powerful stigma. As more and more people continue to view coal, oil and gas negatively, through movements like divestment, this will pressure these fossil fuel companies to transition to clean energy. As of December 2016, 688 institutions worldwide have divested over five trillion dollars from fossil fuels (6). Lewis & Clark College, a pioneer of sustainability, should participate in this significant global movement. (1) https://www.lclark.edu/live/files/22998-list-of-managers-may-31-2016pdf (2) http://www.livescience.com/10325-living-warmer-2-degrees-change-earth.html (3) https://phys.org/news/2013-04-unburnable-fossil-fuels-investors-stranded.html (4) http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php (5) http://fossilfreeindexes.com/research/the-carbon-underground/ (6) https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ Global_Divestment_Report_2016.pdf
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    Created by Bruce Podobnik
  • Skidmore College: 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 Skidmore College 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 Skidmore College 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. This is your chance to make Skidmore a national leader in sustainability and civic engagement.
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    Created by Jake Mendell
  • McMaster University: 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 McMaster University 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 McMaster University 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.
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    Created by Amandeep Bolina Picture
  • Gustavus Adolphus College: 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 Gustavus Adolphus College 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 Gustavus Adolphus College 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.
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    Created by Steve Palmer
  • Colorado College: 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 the Colorado College 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 Colorado College 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.
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    Created by Alex Suber
  • Smith College: Go Fossil Free!
    We recognize global warming as a human rights issue. Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify tragic climate disasters, such as hurricanes, droughts and floods. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet and furthering human suffering. In 2009 President Christ wrote that a “commitment to resource stewardship and preservation has emerged as a powerful organizing principle in Smith College’s operational and curricular development and a vivid manifestation of the college’s responsibilities to the nation and the world." The college began by creating our Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS), developing the major in Environmental Science & Policy, and committing to carbon neutrality by 2030. As a college with a reputation for leadership, it is our responsibility to be a pioneer in the growing international campaign to withdraw financial support from the fossil fuel industry. The next step is clear. We call on Smith College to legitimize these preliminary actions by divesting from fossil fuels. Divestment from fossil fuels is an investment in the future of Smith College.
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    Created by Lauren Ressler