To: City of Kingston, Ontario, Queen's University, RMC, other Kingston-based investors

Kingston: join or support the movement to divest from fossil fuels

Pledge to support the movement to make no new investments in the world's leading 200 fossil fuel companies, and phase out all fossil fuel investments within 5 years, in line with the 350.org campaign. In the case of the City of Kingston, pass a motion resolving support for the campaign, and explore exposure to carbon investment in city-related pensions and other investments.

Why is this important?

The global scientific community has reached a consensus that humans are in the driver's seat of the climate changes observed in the last century (1), due to carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels. Governments and leaders across the world have agreed that we must limit human-caused global heating to 2 degrees centigrade to avoid creating a cascading heating effect throughout the coming century that most species (including ours) will not be able to adapt to (2). Scientists project that an additional 565 gigatons of carbon emissions will push us past this limit, but fossil fuel companies are sitting on 2795 gigatons of fossil fuel reserves they want to exploit (3). This includes Canadian and foreign companies in the tar sands in Alberta including the pipeline company Enbridge, who want to pump raw tar sands bitumen through their line 9B pipeline, which runs through Ontario north of Kingston.

Following the lead of science-based environmental organizations like 350.org (4), we as citizens of Kingston, including all community members such as students, professors, workers of all kinds, call on the City of Kingston, Queen's University, the Royal Military College and other institutions and organizations to pass resolutions and take action to divest from fossil fuel investments in their various investment portfolios and pensions funds. Specifically, we are requesting that no new investments in the world's 200 leading fossil fuel corporations be made (5), and that existing investments in these companies be phased out over the next five years.

Because these fossil fuel companies have done everything they can to block and frustrate attempts to confront climate change, the time has come to reveal them as dangerous radicals whose business plan threatens our ecosystems, other species, and our very civilization. The inspiration for this type of action comes from the success of divestment strategies used against companies that invested in apartheid South Africa. The moral urgency in this case is equally pressing, and indeed the climate crisis comprises the greatest moral and political issue of our time.

Our current federal government is an active sales team for these fossil fuel companies, and the tar sands in particular. It is up to actors and institutions at the local level to 'tar' these companies' reputations and in so doing be the catalyst for meaningful action to combat climate change.

By working toward divesting from the world's leading 200 fossil fuel companies, the City of Kingston and Kingston's universities and other institutions can set an example for other Canadian cities and institutions, in keeping with our goal of being Canada's 'most sustainable city'.

Sources:

(1) ‘Survey finds 97% of climate science papers agree warming is man-made’ (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/may/16/climate-change-scienceofclimatechange

(2) UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Copenhagen Accord: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf

(3) http://math.350.org/

(4) http://350.org (supported by retired NASA and Columbia University climatologist James Hansen)

(5) ‘Top 200 fossil fuel companies.’ http://gofossilfree.org/companies/

Kingston, ON, Canada

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Reasons for signing

  • As a FYI, there may not be any need to divest "City of Kingston" from fossil fuel industry as municipalities in Ontario are not allowed to invest in equities or corporate bonds. I asked the mayor's office in Toronto office how much they're invested in the fossil fuel industries and they came back with this answer: "Municipalities in Ontario are not allowed to invest in equities or corporate bonds so Toronto does not have any investments in fossil fuel companies."
  • Fossil fuel companies can no longer be seen as responsible corporate citizens. They have lobbied and led governments to resist action to reduce the use of fossil fuels in our country and in the USA. Their shares do not belong in the investment portfolios of responsible public bodies such as universities and community endowment funds.
  • DIvestment helped change South Africa...this could work to start huge change now...

Updates

2017-05-07 17:38:15 -0400

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