People & Planet
If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.
UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly - through the £5.2bn worth of their endowments invested in fossil fuel companies - and indirectly through their research and their partnerships with some of the biggest companies in the world, like BP and Shell.
Students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet -- Britain's largest student activist network -- has joined forces with 350.org to bring the fossil fuel divestment campaign to UK institutions.
We believe that our educational institutions should serve the public good and live up to their promises to tackle climate change. No UK university in their right mind accepts funding from or invest their funds in tobacco companies these days -- it’s inconsistent with their research on cancer and health. Investing in the fossil fuel companies causing climate change is a bad investment, and yet most universities still do not recognise this. That’s about to change!
Creating a Fossil Free petition
To get your whole university (or other institution) talking about your campaign, create your own online petition. You’ll have full control over the wording and design of your petition. This petition allows you to share it easily on social media and build your contacts list - you can email the people who’ve signed to keep them updated about your campaign progress and events.
NB: Students! If you need advice in designing your campaign and petition text, contact People & Planet on [email protected] or 01865 264180
Get started, click "New Campaign" below:
New Campaign Campaigns
Make UCLan Fossil FreeClimate change caused by greenhouse gases is one of the most serious threats to the future of the planet and we are already beginning to see its effects both globally and locally, with extreme weather events such as storms, droughts and flooding becoming more common. If we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate it will have devastating effects on our planet and communities. By divesting our university's money from fossil fuel companies we will be helping in the fight against climate change. Not only are fossil fuel companies harmful to the planet, they are also an unsound investment, with the value of many companies falling drastically. It would be better to remove our money sooner rather than later. UCLan has a reputation as a very green university, clearly its investments should reflect this. Several UK universities have already divested from fossil fuels, surely it's time to join them.92 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Robert Price
Divest The Open University from fossil fuelsTo support the speediest conversion to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, encourage politicians to get serious themselves, and to be a consistent part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.1,092 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Simon Barton
University of Plymouth, commit to NEVER invest in Fossil Fuels!We will not keep climate change at bay without halting our extraction of fossil-fuels. Plymouth University prides itself in its sustainability and environmental performance however neglecting to sign the declaration and commit to excluding fossil fuels from future investments shows a clear inconsistency in their policy. The People and Planet society here at Plymouth University want this to change. Despite no current investments in fossil fuels there is no policy stopping this in the future. Plymouth University was once at the top of the People and Planet University League Table (2015), but by 2019 had dropped down to 15th. By signing the Fossil Free Declaration Plymouth could both increase their position AND show a renewed commitment to global social and climate justice. As students we are investing our time and money into our education and future. So why shouldn't our institute of learning promise never to invest in Fossil Fuels and invest in our future instead?585 of 600 SignaturesCreated by Paisley Turner
Divest Lancaster University from Unethical InvestmentIt's 2021 and Lancaster University is STILL investing in fossil fuels to the tune of £171,753. UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through investments in companies such as BP and Shell. Lancaster University's involvement with this industry is incompatible with their image as a green university, actively promoting renewable energy and sustainability. When this campaign began in 2014 around 14% of the university's current investments were in fossil fuels and nearly 4% of investments were in the arms trade. These investments are incompatible with the view of Lancaster as an ethical and environmentally friendly university, and we believe an increased awareness and lobbying by students will encourage the university management to adopt an ethical investment policy. Link to our most up to date information on the University's investments: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129384#fossil-free-scorecard Link to our early research: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/university_investments_2?nocache=incoming-575353#incoming-5753531,421 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Orla McKeon-Carter
FULLY DIVEST LSE FROM FOSSIL FUELSTime and again it has been scientifically proven that climate change triggered by the increase of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is directly linked to human industrial activity that is powered by the burning of fossil fuels. To stabilise atmospheric CO2 concentrations and thereby minimise the hard to predict impacts of rising global temperatures, we need to take action right now. Therefore, we the students of LSE are asking the school to disclose its endowment fund investments. If the portfolio contains investments in fossil fuel focussed companies, we will work with the the school to shift its focus towards low carbon technology and clean energy companies. We must mitigate the anthropogenic effect by addressing where our institution is investing its money.1,055 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Collective of environmentally conscious LSE students
University of Birmingham Fossil Free"If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage." Too many UK universities, including the University of Birmingham, support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research, their endowments and investments and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, like BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. The fossil fuel industry has a concerning amount of influence over our education, with numerous members of the university’s advisory board working for fossil fuels companies. These include Tony Hayward, former chief executive of BP and current Glencore chairman, and Lord Browne former chief executive of BP and Cuadrilla company director. Additionally, companies affect educational programmes by funding research and professorships, such as the ExxonMobil Teaching Fellowship, formerly held by Chemical Engineering lecturers. We believe that our educational institutions should serve the public good and live up to their promises to tackle climate change. No UK university in their right mind would accept funding from, or invest their funds into tobacco companies these days- it’s inconsistent with their research on cancer. The same holds true for fossil fuel companies causing climate change, and yet the University of Birmingham still does not recognise this. That’s about to change. UK students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet is joining forces with the 350.org campaign that has been sweeping across North American campuses. 200 publicly-traded companies hold the vast majority of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves. Those are the companies we’ll be asking the University of Birmingham to break their links with. Together they hold five times more carbon in their fossil fuel reserves than we can safely afford to burn to stop runaway climate change. From Canada’s dirty tar sands to Arctic drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for shale gas - the fossil fuel industry is scraping the bottom of the barrel and causing huge environmental and human devastation in the process. Withdrawing our institutions’ financial and moral backing for this climate-wrecking industry is crucial to tackling climate change. WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF FUNDING AND INVESTMENT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM? Renewables: most of the technology needed to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable has already been developed and is completely viable. It is simply the cultural and social custom adopted by the energy industries that needs to change. A global power shift. http://globalpowershift.org/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/ see: • International Energy Agency (World Energy Outlook Special Report 2013: Redrawing The Energy Climate Map) • Centre for Alternative Technology (Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future) • David Mackay FRS (Sustainable Energy – without the hot air) WHAT IS 'THE CARBON BUBBLE'? Investing in fossil fuels is fast becoming a risky investment: London School of Economics has reported the market will collapse in the coming years. See http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publications/Policy/docs/PB-unburnable-carbon-2013-wasted-capital-stranded-assets.pdf521 of 600 SignaturesCreated by Rachel Kenyon
Divest BirkbeckInvestment in fossil fuel industries drives fossil fuel consumption and its negative social and environmental impacts. Burning coal, oil, and gas release CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, both warming and polluting the planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if the status quo continues, the planet could warm by almost 5°C by 2100. This would have a catastrophic impact on human life. It would mean that our planet bears little resemblance to the one in which “civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted”, as James Hansen, a top climate scientist at NASA, put it. The second reason is that investment in these companies gives implicit support to their activities. It is a matter of social justice and duty that the University withdraw its investments in companies that actively contribute to global warming, the burden of which is being felt disproportionately by the world’s poorest countries, who are contributing least to climate change. Not only does this exacerbate global poverty, but it also perpetuates further social inequality between the global South and the global North. Divestment from fossil fuel firms will help remove fossil fuel companies’ social license to exploit the world's most impoverished nations. The third reason is that investment in fossil fuel companies runs contrary to the University’s environmental priorities. The University is pledging to reduce carbon emissions and embed sustainability into its business model and institutions' culture. It intends to be fully compliant with environmental legislation and promote environmental responsibility. On this basis and in light of the Paris agreement, we believe that we must act to help avert irreversible damage to ecosystems and life on earth. Fossil fuel companies are now subject to regulations aimed at preventing climate change. Recent research has shown that, if regulators are serious about mitigating climate change, a third of global oil reserves, half of all gas reserves, and over 80% of coal reserves will have to remain in the ground to limit global warming to 2ºC. This means fossil fuel firms would have to massively write down the value of assets on their balance sheets, leading to huge and sustained destruction in shareholder value. By divesting from fossil fuels, the University will join a long list of respected institutions already committed to going fossil free, which include over 50% of all UK universities (https://sustainability.nus.org.uk/divest-investold/articles/over-50-of-uk-universities-divest-from-fossil-fuels), including Goldsmiths, Bath Spa University, Manchester University, Oxford City Council, Trinity College, the World Council of Churches, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The global divestment campaign is growing, and together we can make a statement about how we want our future to look. We urge all students, alumni, staff and members of the public to sign the petition to support the divestment campaign at Birkbeck, and an end to social and environmental devastation. _________________________________ NOTE: This petition was updated on 25 February 2021 to reflect the latest available investment figures disclosed by Birkbeck in January 2021.553 of 600 SignaturesCreated by Suzanne Henry
Fossil Free Oxford UniversityClimate change, caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from burning oil, gas and coal, threatens the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world. Extreme weather events — the floods, droughts, melting icecaps and wildfires we've seen in recent years — make it clear that climate change is no longer a future threat: it’s a clear and present danger. Those worst affected, and often least responsible for causing climate change, are the poor and vulnerable in both developed and developing countries. We now know that at least two-thirds of fossil fuel companies' reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for "dangerous" climate change. Experts warn this 'carbon bubble' could lead to stranded assets worth trillions and plunge the world into another financial crisis if left unaddressed. And yet, despite University of Oxford's public commitments to tackling climate change both through its estates and its world-leading climate research, there are strong and pervasive links between our institution and the fossil fuel industry. University of Oxford has the largest endowment of any UK university invested in numerous fossil fuel companies. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. It's time for University of Oxford to realise how incompatible these investments are with a safe climate future, and to take meaningful action to go Fossil Free.2,695 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Louise Hazan
Divest money from fossil fuels Loughborough University!Loughborough's endowment fund (http://alumni.lboro.ac.uk/page.aspx?pid=1062), with one part funded by alumni to benefit generation upon generation of students through the interest the fund earns, should not do so at the expense of our planet. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. Too many UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research, their endowments and investments and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world like BP and Shell. UK students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet is joining forces with the 350.org campaign that has been sweeping across North American campuses. We believe that our educational institutions should serve the public good and live up to their promises to tackle climate change. No UK university in their right mind would accept funding from or invest their funds in tobacco companies these days - it’s inconsistent with their research on cancer. The same holds true for fossil fuel companies causing climate change and yet most universities still do not recognise this. That’s about to change! 200 publicly-traded companies hold the vast majority of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves. Those are the companies we’ll be asking our institutions to break their links with. Together they hold five times more carbon in their fossil fuel reserves than we can safely afford to burn to stop runaway climate change. It’s that simple…if you do the maths. From Canada’s dirty tar sands to Arctic drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for shale gas - the fossil fuel industry is scraping the bottom of the barrel and causing huge environmental and human devastation in the process. Withdrawing our institutions’ financial and moral backing for this climate-wrecking industry is crucial to tackling climate change.1,020 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by LSU Ethics and Environment
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine DivestThe School states there are ethical restrictions on its investments, that its guiding values include environmental sustainability and that among its aims are to ‘ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the School’ (3). It is clear the School’s values, aims and ethical responsibilities would converge on a commitment to divest from fossil fuels. Environment: The School funds research into the effects of climate change on health whilst simultaneously profiting from fossil fuels, the root cause of climate change. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report chapter on ‘Human Health: Impacts, Adaptation, and Co-Benefits’ edited by Prof. Andy Haines, has raised awareness about the health impacts of climate change and pollution. The IPCC report states that ‘People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change’ (4). Climate change is, according to the Lancet, ‘the greatest threat to human health in the 21 century’. One of the guiding principles of medical practice is ‘do no harm’; as a school rooted in medicine and health these values should not only be applied to immediate practises, but to the full range of the School’s activities. Finance: The share prices of the companies the school is invested in are dependant on the value of their known carbon reserves. More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 °C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damage (6). In order to keep global warming below this threshold 80% of known carbon reserves will have to remain in the ground (7). Recently the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, told the World Bank that ‘the majority of the world’s reserves are unburnable’ (8) and commissioned the bank to examine “the vulnerability that fossil fuel assets could pose to the stability of the financial system in a carbon constrained world” (9). The School is unnecessarily exposing itself to stranded assets. The current low price of oil and instability of the market are reflected in the share values of the School’s three direct fossil fuel investments, all of which have fallen 20% since June 2014. It must be recognised that these investments are inherently unstable and not a sustainable place to invest the School’s endowments. We, students and staff at LSHTM, demand that the School must break ties with the fossil fuel industry. We want LSHTM to: • Identify and publicly report all financial ties, contracts and agreements with the fossil fuel industry including direct and indirect (e.g. via banks and co-mingled funds) investments, sponsorship and advertising agreements, and research funding. • End current investments in fossil fuel companies immediately and shift funds to lower risk, ethical investments. • No longer partner with or accept funding from fossil fuel companies. • Terminate existing agreements and contracts, including sponsorships, advertising, and funding. • Make no future investments or partnerships with fossil fuel companies. • Set and publish timelines for completion of all demands, including regular progress reports and an analysis of potential risks and causes of delay, all of which are easily accessible online, not just by request 1. Freedom of Information Request, 3/12/2014 2. http://fossilfreeindexes.com/the-carbon-underground-2014/ 3. http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/introducing/mission/strategy_2012_2017.pdf 4. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Summary 5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-29310475 6. Meunshausen, M. et al., 2009. Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C. Nature, 458(7242), pp.1158-62. 7. 350.org 8. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/13/mark-carney-fossil-fuel-reserves-burned-carbon-bubble 9. http://www.carbontracker.org/news/bank-of-englands-momentous-move-on-climate-change/497 of 500 SignaturesCreated by Alice Munro