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 (380)

  • College of William and Mary: 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 William & Mary 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 William & Mary 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.
    49 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Anne DeMelle
  • California State University - East Bay: 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 California State University - East Bay 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 California State University - East Bay 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.
    48 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Tamhas Griffith
  • Santa Barbara City 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 Santa Barbara City 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 Santa Barbara City 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.
    48 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Rebecca Barker
  • Westminster 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 Westminster 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 Westminster 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.
    47 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jessy Davenport
  • University of Tennessee: 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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.
    47 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Cicily Hummer
  • West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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. West Virginia University is deeply invested in fossil-fuels such as coal and natural gas, energy resources that are known causes of increased carbon dioxide released in our atmosphere. It is our duty as informed, educated citizens to minimize our impacts on climate change. We need to do what is right not only for ourselves but for future generations.
    47 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Hannah Spencer
  • Earlham College: Go Fossil Free!
    Earlham College’s guiding Principles and Practices, the fundamental values that shape our community, include the Quaker testimonies of Peace and Justice and Respect for Persons. The actions of the Filthy Fifteen directly violate these Earlham values. Our Principles and Practices also include the testimony of Integrity, which asks us to aspire to truthful living. Investing in the Filthy Fifteen, whose actions violate Earlham’s fundamental values, violates our integrity. The Earlham College Socially Responsible Investment Policy states that, “Earlham seeks to minimize investing in the securities of companies whose overall behavior results in irresponsible use of the natural environment and/or denigrates the dignity of individuals.” The goods and services provided by the Filthy Fifteen, although traditionally viewed as positive and good, have inherent and mostly unavoidable repercussions. Repercussions associated with coal-mining and coal-burning are inherent and implicit in coal operations. Therefore, investment in the Filthy Fifteen, which are responsible for a greater number of EPA violations and injury/illness-related lawsuits than any other coal companies, conflicts with our investment policy as well as the Principles and Practices. In light of the current financial instabilities of the American economy, we recognize the importance of addressing the financial responsibility of coal investments. Earlham’s investment in coal is not only ethically irresponsible, but financially unsustainable as well. The responsible investment organization As You Sow cites the following disadvantages of investing in coal in their 2011 report (Lowe & Sanzillo,”White Paper: Financial Risks of Investments in Coal”): • Capital expenditures for environmental compliance and uncertainty about the cost implications of pending and anticipated environmental mandates; • Persistently high construction costs; • Coal price volatility, rising costs for mining, and shifting markets all placing upward pressure on coal prices; • Competition from low prices of natural gas and other energy sources, which is exerting downward pressure on power prices; • Improved profitability and policy preferences for solar, wind, and energy efficiency investments; • The slow pace of development of viable commercial scale carbon capture and storage for coal plants. 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. We believe such action on behalf of Earlham 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.
    46 of 100 Signatures
  • SUNY College at Oneonta: 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 SUNY College at Oneonta 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 SUNY College at Oneonta 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.
    46 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Deanna Caracciolo
  • Portland Community 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 Portland Community 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 Portland Community 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.
    46 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Margaret Brooks
  • Divest Mills College 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 hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion 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.
    45 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Alysha Schwartz