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 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.227 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.53 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/1,361 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/wastedcapital2,047 of 3,000 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.pdf2,423 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Zero Carbon Cambridge
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.1,017 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by LSU Ethics and Environment
SUSSEX UNIVERSITY DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN - WE WONAccording to the most recent projections, the world is headed on a course to global warming of 4 degrees by the end of this century if we carry on emitting CO2 at current rates.  It is clear that fossil fuels are not the way forward, and that we must end our addiction to carbon and find sustainable energy alternatives before it is too late. Despite this, our governments and institutions continue to invest vast sums in companies extracting oil and gas, giving them huge public subsidies that have helped to make them some of the most profitable companies in the world. The University of Sussex is renowned as a progressive institution, and we believe that the University should lead by example and join dozens of other universities, religious institutions and local governments across the world that have already committed to investing its money ethically, and going fossil free. Collectively, we have the opportunity to send an important signal to our governments and the private sector about the urgent moral and financial imperative of phasing out fossil fuels.2,053 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Rachel Mohun
Divest The University Of Nottingham From Fossil FuelsThe University of Nottingham’s (UoN) investment policy states that investment in companies which demonstrate ‘’explicit environmental damage’’ will not take place . Yet, the fossil fuel companies Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Total and Centrica make up 11.08% of UoN’s portfolio and the total market value of the University’s investment in fossil fuels is £3,952,351 as of 31 July 2014. Investing in fossil fuel companies is not achieving the university’s aim “to act in an environmentally responsible way.’’  BP as an example have shut down its solar business  and invested only 2% of profits into alternative energy between 2005 and 2015 . It has not made new targets for alternative energy investments. Shockingly, BP were responsible for the 11 deaths and 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked in the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem.  Fossil Fuel exploration is needless. There is more proven oil and gas reserves than can be safely burnt without exceeding a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees, the widely regarded dangerous threshold. Burning fossil fuels contributes directly to climate change , leading to water scarcity [7, UoN research] as well as increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Arctic Ice thickness has also decreased 40 percent since the 1960s, endangering arctic wildlife. By divesting in fossil fuels, the university will help prevent the numerous effects of climate change, increase its reputation as a leading ‘Green University’ and make us as students feel proud that our education doesn’t come at an environmental cost. UoN did well in the People and Planets comprehensive sustainable university league table and ranked 42nd. A move to more ethical investments would improve the universities ranking. The University of Glasgow received recognition  for their pledge of divestment from fossil fuels. A similar pledge will, set a positive example for the hundreds of divestment campaigns across the world cementing UoN as a leading global university.  https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/governance/documents/investment-policy.pdf  http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/documents/environmentalstrategy200910.pdf  http://www.bp.com/en/global/alternative-energy/our-businesses/solar-power.html  http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/sustainability/group-reports/BP_Sustainability_Review_2013.pdf  www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13123036  https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf  http://nottingham.ac.uk/globalfoodsecurity/strands/climatechangeandenvironmentalimpact/index.aspx  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/08/glasgow-becomes-first-university-in-europe-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels1,027 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Peter Mullard
Divest the University of Bath from the Fossil Fuel IndustryThe world has committed to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. To achieve this, over 80% of the proven fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground (1) - we simply cannot afford to continue to invest in this industry. However, the arguments against fossil fuel investments are not just environmental. Economically, it is clearly unsustainable to rely on non-renewable resources. The price of oil is already volatile and is a significant source of financial risk (2) whereas, in contrast, low-carbon investments are becoming increasingly profitable (3). Divestment is a proven, powerful tool for people to collaborate and directly effect large scale change. It was, for example, a key strategy in the ending of South African apartheid and the stigmatisation of the tobacco industry, and will be a key player in the global transition to sustainable energy sources. The University of Bath has fossil fuel holdings totalling half a million pounds including over £100,000 in Shell alone (4). Our call is for the university to divest these holdings and publicly commit to never investing in them again. The activities of these companies are completely incompatible with the university’s own mission (5) and is at odds with much of the work on campus, from the research at the CSCT (6) and the IPR (7) to the discussions at the I-SEE (8). The campaign here at Bath is part of the wider Fossil Free movement – an accumulation of grassroots campaigns at a diverse range of respected institutions around the world, from Le Louvre museum in Paris to the University of Cambridge here in the UK. A quarter of universities in the UK have already committed to divesting, and Bath should be proud to join their ranks. Many of these forward-thinking universities had far more invested (9), so what we are demanding is not out of reach. The wider statement that the University of Bath will make when it divests will be significant and will extend far beyond the removal of the raw finances. In divesting from fossil fuels, the University will be: - Showing solidarity with communities already bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, most of whom have contributed little to the problem; - Helping to reclaim our democracy from the power of fossil fuel lobbying groups (10); - Contributing to the stigmatisation of the fossil fuel industry: “the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies” (11); - Influencing public discourse on climate change: leading the way for other UK universities and policy makers, too. It is time for the University of Bath to realise how incompatible a safe climate future is with these fossil fuel relationships, and to take meaningful action to go fossil free. This petition for a Fossil Free Bath complements Bath SU policy (12) voted through by 60% of students in early 2016. References (1) http://math.350.org/ (2) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/03/bank-of-england-warns-of-financial-risk-from-fossil-fuel-investments (3) https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/feb/13/renewable-energy-investment-fossil-fuel-divestment-investor-summit-climate-change (4) FOI (5) http://www.bath.ac.uk/about/values/ethics/code-of-ethics.html (6) http://www.bath.ac.uk/csct/research/energy-water.html (7) http://www.bath.ac.uk/ipr/policy-briefs/reports/climate-change.html (8) http://www.bath.ac.uk/i-see/ (9) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/08/glasgow-becomes-first-university-in-europe-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels (10) http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-industry-influence-in-the-u-s/ (11) http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-programmes/stranded-assets/SAP-divestment-report-final.pdf (12) https://www.bathstudent.com/pageassets/policy-governance/2015-16-4-Fossil-Free-Bath.pdf1,551 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Garoe Dorta Perez
Fossil Free Southampton UniversityIf it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage, right? As emphasized in recent reports from the IPCC, international efforts must be significantly enhanced in order to remain below a 2°C limit of global warming, with risks of abrupt or irreversible climate consequences increasing with the magnitude of warming. Without dramatic reductions in carbon emissions the rate of climate change will have numerous detrimental effects. Environmental effects include sea level rise, more severe and prolonged droughts and floods, increase in number and intensity of hurricanes and storms, loss of biodiversity, decrease in fresh water availability and many more. These also have huge social and economic consequences with developing countries that are least responsible for these effects being most vulnerable and least capable of managing and adapting to the effects. Ultimately climate change will impact us all, therefore, it is clear that climate change mitigation must become a priority and we cannot allow the fossil fuel companies to continue with business as usual. The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to remain in the ground and this message must be reinforced! UK universities are deeply entangled in the fossil fuel industry. They currently invest up to £5.2 billion in the industry depending on the university, with money from their pension funds and endowments. Not only are universities financially supporting the fossil fuel industry, they are giving it a social licence. Universities are meant to be a bastion of forward thinking and life changing research in our society. Therefore, to invest in fossil fuels goes completely against this in every way. It is not just financial investments; too many UK universities also support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world like Shell and BP.255 of 300 SignaturesCreated by Tom Hicks