To: Antioch University Board of Governors
Divest Antioch University from Fossil Fuels
We, as members of the learning community of Antioch University New England, call on the Board of Governors of Antioch University to:
• immediately freeze any new investments in fossil-fuel companies and divest within three years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
• actively reinvest in mission consistent investment products that promote Antioch’s core values of sustainability, social justice, and equality.
• release quarterly updates, available to the public, detailing progress made towards full divestment and make the contents of the full endowment publicly available on an ongoing basis.
• create a multi-stakeholder, socially responsible investment committee to analyze the endowment in its entirety and make recommendations to the Investment Committee of The Board Of Governors for further mission consistent investments.
A rapidly changing climate is an urgent matter and as such we call on the Board of Governors to vote on and enact these policies by their meeting in June of 2015.
Why is this important?
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.