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 (585)

  • Divest Antioch University from Fossil Fuels
    Climate change is an environmental and human rights crisis that demands bold action. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently. The effects of climate change disproportionately affect lower income and marginalized communities, often exacerbating already existing social injustices. Almost every government in the world has agreed through the 2009 Copenhagen Accord that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe, and that humans can only pour about 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to maintain this. Based on current emissions, we will emit those 565 gigatons in a little over 15 years. Fossil-fuel companies possess proven fossil fuel reserves that would release approximately 2,795 gigatons of CO2 if they are burned, which is five times the "safe" amount. Warming in excess of the "safe" amount will leave us a planet inconsistent with that on which human civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted. Fossil fuel companies not only plan on burning all of their reserves, but spend millions of dollars per day exploring for more fossil fuels. Their business model is incompatible with a liveable planet. Knowingly profiting from the creation and exacerbation of climate change runs counter to both AU's mission of advancing social, economic, and environmental justice and to the values of our learning community. Our investment choices all have real-world social, economic, and environmental justice consequences. Antioch University has an opportunity now to be a leader in shifting its endowment resources from fossil fuels to investments in an array of robust alternatives that advance our institutional mission, such as, community development, clean and renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency and conservation, among other public goods. It is time for Antioch University to invest in communities and the future, not climate change. see https://drive.google.com/a/antioch.edu/file/d/0BzvD7pr40Gt1RWdzVTJRYlBhVlk/view?usp=sharing for a full brief with citations on why AU should divest from fossil fuels.
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    Created by Josh Lipkowitz
  • University of Washington: 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 Washington 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 Washington 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 David Perlmutter Picture
  • New York 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 NYU 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 NYU 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 Sophie Lasoff
  • DePauw 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 DePauw 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 DePauw 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 Carlie Vaughn
  • Humboldt State 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 Humboldt State 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 Humboldt State 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 Brittany Campbell Picture
  • Michigan State 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 Michigan State 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 Michigan State 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 Jaye Elsey Picture
  • 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 $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.
    235 of 300 Signatures
    Created by 350 Bethlehem
  • University of Toronto: Go Fossil Free!
    In order to avoid dangerous climate change, the world needs to redirect investment from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy that are compatible with climate safety. The University of Toronto is heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry. For example, Shell stock comprises the university s single largest holding of corporate equity, with $9.84 million invested. This represents less than 1% of the university's total stock investment. Governments and organizations around the world have recognized warming of 2˚C as the threshold where climate change will become dangerous. If we want to stay below that limit, we can emit no more than 565 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide. Global fossil reserves contain 2,795 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, more than enough to drive humanity off the 2˚C trajectory. Shell is an especially problematic company due to its long record of environmental and human rights abuses, as well as its involvement in a number of high risk ventures, including the expansion of the Alberta oil sands and arctic drilling. Shell is thus a major industrial player in the production of fossil fuels contributing to the problem of climate change. Also, the value of Shell stock depends on the assumption that all of these fuels will be burned. In a world where fossil fuel consumption must be limited, this stock is significantly over valued. Investment in fossil fuel corporations such as Shell drives the consumption of fossil fuel reserves which MUST remain underground in order to avoid dangerous climate change.
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    Created by Stuart Basden