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To: University of Guelph Board of Governors

Divest University of Guelph Endowments from Fossil Fuel Investments

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Campaign created by
Guelph Student Committee Fossil Free UofG

We, the undersigned students, staff, and alumni at the University of Guelph, along with concerned citizens, call upon the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph to respond to the seriousness of climate change and immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, including the top 200 fossil-fuel companies (as defined by the Carbon Tracker Initiative), Enbridge Inc., Kinder Morgan Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and any subsidiaries of these companies. We also call upon the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph to completely divest from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds within three years. Public pressure to confront climate change is building and we believe such action on behalf of the University of Guelph will not only be a sound decision for your financial portfolio, but also for the well-being of current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity of a future that isn't defined by climate chaos.

Finally, a new investment policy that adheres to the highest social and environmental justice standards is, we believe, the only way forward and we call on the administration to open a broad participatory dialogue relating to how University funds are invested in public stocks and other investment vehicles. Doing so would demonstrate leadership on the part of the University and is congruent with public pledges by our University administration to adhere to the highest principles of social and environmental responsibility, as the administration likes to say, "The Better Planet Project".

Why is this important?

Climate change is no longer a future state. It's here and accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing global impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently. Just in the last few years, extreme weather, record-breaking heat, droughts, hurricanes, and flooding have impacted hundreds of thousands of people with a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. The vast majority of scientists and climate experts agree that global warming is caused by human activity and that burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters.

Furthermore, the huge dependence on government subsidies and political rules makes the fossil fuel sector more risky and volatile as a financial investment. There is growing evidence that the sector is greatly over-valued. When a true cost is placed on carbon emissions, these shares will be worth substantially less. Analysis of historical data shows that over the past seven years, eliminating the fossil fuel sector from a global benchmark index would have actually resulted in a slightly higher return.

It is unconscionable to pay for our education with monies that will then be invested to support the fossil fuel industry and condemn the planet to climate disaster. We ask you to join a growing movement of diverse groups and organizations around the world that are committed to a clean energy future by moving the University of Ottawa’s endowment away from fossil fuels and into sustainable investments.

(Credit to, and in solidarity with, the University of Ottawa Campaign for the above script, 350.org and Bill McKibbon for instigating this movement and to all campaigners everywhere who go out of their way to bravely spread this message and live in Truth with this crisis.)

Guelph, ON, Canada

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • UoG should be a leader in environmental issues. Investing in fossil fuels perpetuates climate change and therefore has far-reaching impacts on the environment and human health across the globe. This goes against their stated motto of "changing lives; improving life".
  • As an institution that claims to be progressive and a champion of enlightened intellectual pursuits, I find it hypocritical and abhorrent that the UofG continues to invest in archaic and environmentally harmful endeavors.
  • It's unethical to benefit from an industry that is causing global harm..especially when our University promotes "The Better Planet Project" and "Changing Lives and Improving Life"...lets get back to our values and lead by example on this issue

Updates

2013-10-27 11:40:21 -0400

100 signatures reached

2013-10-16 22:03:18 -0400

50 signatures reached

2013-10-11 13:34:27 -0400

25 signatures reached

2013-10-11 09:10:44 -0400

10 signatures reached