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@example.com or 01865 264180
Get started, click "New Campaign" below:
New Campaign Campaigns
Divest York from Fossil FuelsThe University is failing in this commitment to not knowingly invest in companies whose practices pose a risk of harm to individuals or groups. The combustion of fossil fuels is responsible for 87% of all human carbon dioxide emissions which drastically contributes to anthropogenic climate change which in turn kills approximately 600,000 people yearly. As of last calculations, the University of York has £217000 invested in Fossil Fuels, and with 68 Universities already having pledged their commitment to divest from Fossil Fuels -including our rivals York St. John, it's about time the University of York did the same. The University of Edinburgh has divested over £6.3 million from fossil fuels, surely York can divest £217000.1,299 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by YUSU Environment
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.713 of 800 SignaturesCreated by Simon Barton
Fossil Free LeicesterWe wish to see accountability from our higher education institution. We are not asking for the university to take radical action; only that it abides by its own policies. The university is explicitly breaking its own ethical investment policy regarding tobacco investments and environmental damage and is in an extremely grey area regarding its investment into arms policy. Sign this petition and have a say in where YOUR tuition fees are being invested.100 of 200 SignaturesCreated by Ellen Byrne
Divest Clare Hall from Fossil FuelsWe petition Clare Hall to divest because scientific evidence shows that catastrophic environmental breakdowns are imminent if drastic changes are not made very soon. Climate change is a matter of social justice and financial responsibility. Marginalized populations are already and will continue to be disproportionately affected by climate change. Divestment weakens fossil fuel companies’ social legitimacy and sends a message that ‘business-as-usual’ is unacceptable. We petition Clare Hall to recognize the social and financial value of divested portfolios. Fossil free funds have been shown to perform on par with or better than conventional investments. Managers experienced with ESG investing can help make this a feasible and financially responsible path. We support the proposal for divestment to also include targeted investing in businesses that promote sustainable environmental practices and better energy alternatives to fossil fuels. We also petition Clare Hall to divest because we believe that it would align with the College’s history of operating on progressive values, and its stated commitment to improving energy conservation and reducing our carbon footprint. Finally, we petition Clare Hall to divest because it represents an opportunity to join the 988 institutions already committed to divestment globally (combined worth $7.18 trillion), and to show leadership where our university has so far not done so. As more colleges consider taking similar action, we believe that Clare Hall can be a leading, influential voice in the local and international debate on divestment from fossil fuels, as one step in the broader challenge of addressing climate change. For sources and the full policy proposal document contact firstname.lastname@example.org of 200 SignaturesCreated by Clare Hall Fossil Free
University of Aberdeen: Divest from Fossil FuelsThe future of Aberdeen graduates is currently threatened by climate change. Already we are suffering the effects of a 1°C rise in global average temperatures, and world leaders agree that the warming must be contained at a 2°C increase in order to avoid catastrophic global effects. UN climate chief Christina Figueres has called on investors to divest from fossil fuels, saying “The pensions, life insurances and nest eggs of billions of ordinary people depend on the long-term security and stability of institutional investment funds. Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to those investments and the wealth of the global economy.” In order to avoid global temperatures rising further than a 2°C increase, as much as 80% of currently known fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground - yet the value of fossil fuel assets is based on the extraction of all those reserves. When the world gets serious about climate change, these "carbon bubbles" will burst and the value of fossil fuel shares will plummet. This is why the university not only has a moral, but also a financial duty to withdraw its investments from the fossil fuel industry. We call on the University of Aberdeen to join other universities leading the way on this issue and protect the future of its students by divesting from the fossil fuel industry now.1,411 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Eva Nohe
Divest BirkbeckInvestment in fossil fuel industries drives fossil fuel consumption and its negative social and environmental impacts. Burning coal, oil, and gas releases 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 5oC by 2100. This would have a catastrophic impact on human life. It would turn our planet into one not “similar to that on 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 financial support for 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 it 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 is illogical when set against the University’s environmental priorities. The university is pledging to reduce carbon emissions and embed sustainability into their business model and culture of institutions. It intends to be fully compliant with environmental legislation and promote environmental responsibility. On this basis and in light of the Paris agreement that includes averting irreversible damage to the ecosystems, all planetary life and livelihoods. Besides its dangers, there are strong financial arguments for divestment. As the BP oil spill illustrated, fossil fuel companies operate in risky contexts that can not only damage environments and communities, but also shareholder value. Fossil fuel companies are at the mercy of regulations aimed at preventing climate change. Recent research has shown that, if regulators are serious about preventing climate change, a third of global oil reserves, half of all gas reserves, and over 80% of coal reserves will have to remain unburned 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, including Stanford University, Glasgow University, Oxford CIty Council, 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 an end to social and environmental devastation.217 of 300 SignaturesCreated by Suzanne Henry
University of Portsmouth: Divest from the Fossil Fuel IndustryThe fossil fuel industry is driving the world towards a climate crisis. The science is clear, if we are to avoid catastrophic changes to our planet’s climate, threatening ecosystems and the lives of billions of people, we must drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and transfer to cleaner energy systems. And we must do it quickly. The fossil fuel industry is actively blocking efforts to achieve this transition. It is wielding its unparalleled political influence to ensure global carbon emissions continue to rise, and reaping exorbitant profits at the cost of all our futures. This cannot be allowed to continue. It is incumbent upon all people of conscience now to take a stand against those individuals and institutions that would enrich themselves at humanity’s expense. The first step in doing that is to declare that you won’t be one of them. The University of Portsmouth should not attempt to profit from this morally bankrupt industry, and should join the growing international movement to withdraw its social license to operate.52 of 100 SignaturesCreated by Green Society
Divest Lancaster University from Unethical InvestmentUK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through investments in companies such as BP and Shell. Lancaster University's involvement within this industry is incompatible with their image as a green university, actively promoting renewable energy and sustainability. Around 14% of the university's current investments are in fossil fuels and nearly 4% of investments are 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://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/university_investments_2?nocache=incoming-575353#incoming-575353 Link to the research we have conducted into these companies: http://lancasterethicalinvestment.tumblr.com/1,359 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Orla McKeon-Carter
Divest Imperial from Fossil FuelsClimate change has been described as the most serious challenge of our generation. Under the United Nations Copenhagen Accord, countries have agreed to limit warming to 2 degrees to prevent dangerous climate change. Moreover, investing in fossil fuels poses a serious financial risk. According to recent research led by Professor Lord Stern at LSE, two-thirds of current fossil fuels reserves are unburnable if climate change is to be kept to the globally-agreed limit of 2 degrees of warming . In this regard, we call upon the Endowment Fund Board to issue explicit guidance to ensure the funds are divested away from fossil fuels, for the sake of current and future generations. References:  FOI Request  People & Planet, Platform, 350.org: http://peopleandplanet.org/dl/fossil-free/knowledge-power-report.pdf  Carbon Tracker Initiative Report (Carbon Tracker & The Grantham Research Institute, LSE) : http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital1,981 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Tara Clarke
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELSFossil fuel companies’ current reserves of oil, coal and gas hold 5 times more carbon than the world’s atmosphere can safely handle. Their business plan will cause climate chaos for billions of us, yet UK universities still collectively invest £5.2 billion in fossil fuel companies (1). The University of Cambridge and Colleges have an overall endowment that equates to almost £5 billion (Ibid.). Without an ethical policy (unlike universities such as Oxford, UCL and St. Andrews), this money is invested in companies without consideration of their catastrophic environmental impact. At a global and local level, the impacts of these investments contradict the University’s positive contributions to society, through research and education. Over the past two years the global divestment movement has shown the very real path to a sustainable, fossil-free future. Regarding fossil fuels, the divestment campaign is the fastest growing climate justice campaign in history. So far, $2.6 trillion has been divested from fossil fuels by 456 institutions (Ibid.). It is recognised across the world that global temperatures must remain no more than 2°C higher than in pre-industrial times if climate change is not to destroy our entire way of life (Ibid.). For this to happen, study after study has demonstrated that 80% of currently known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground (Ibid.). This view is endorsed by mainstream elements of society, from Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, to the United Nations. Companies like BP and Shell – and the University’s investments in them—are not part of a sustainable future, no matter how they, or the University, might pretend otherwise. Small investments in renewables are far outweighed by the catastrophic impacts of continued oil extraction. In universities around this country and the world, divestment is denying these companies their moral acceptability – Cambridge needs to catch up. In the University’s “Dear World...” Campaign, it has positioned itself as the driving force for a better future. If it wants anyone to respect that, it needs to demonstrate moral leadership and distance itself from the fossil fuel industry. Fortunately, the working group on investment recently set up by the University presents the perfect opportunity, just a month before the historic climate summit in Paris. All moral and financial arguments point to the same thing – divestment from fossil fuels. References: (1) People and Planet (2013). Knowledge and Power: Fossil Free Universities Report. https://peopleandplanet.org/dl/fossil-free/knowledge-power-report.pdf2,407 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Zero Carbon Cambridge