To: Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs and the University Council

Divest UNSW from Fossil Fuels

Divest UNSW from Fossil Fuels

We call on the University of New South Wales to divest from the fossil fuel industry and commit to environmentally responsible investments. Divesting from fossil fuels would lower the university’s financial risk and show that UNSW is serious about sustainability, drawing attention to our leading research in climate science and renewable energy.

Specifically, we are petitioning the University to commit to:-

1) A freeze on any new investment in companies that extract fossil fuels.

2) Divestment within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include public equities and corporate bonds in the 200 companies with the largest proven reserves in petroleum, coal and natural gas as defined by the “Unburnable Carbon” report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

3) Report on options for investing the endowment in environmentally responsible investments that will further limit the impact of burning of fossil fuels and help to mitigate its effects. Environmentally responsible investments may include, but are not limited to clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable companies or projects, and sustainable communities.

Why is this important?

The fossil fuel industry has five times the amount coal, oil and gas needed to push our climate past the two degrees of warming that the world's governments have agreed to as the precipice.

Financially, continued investment in companies that extract fossil fuels represents a significant risk to UNSW as these companies will face large devaluations when the world moves to lower emission energy sources.

The fossil fuel industry is also known to support campaigns designed to discredit climate science as well as delay action on a shift to renewable energy and address anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. As a public leader in these fields it is embarrassing that we continue to support these activities.

UNSW already leads the way in encouraging and enabling a sustainable future for our society through research and education. A commitment to divest from fossil fuels is an effective way for UNSW to show further leadership. This move would lower the university’s financial risk while also generating positive publicity and increasing support for The University of New South Wales.

University of New South Wales-Kensington Campus, High Street, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia

Reasons for signing

  • Every individual action makes a small difference, every small difference will lead to a BIG difference. BIG differences change the world.
  • UNSW’s investment policy states that the University ‘will not knowingly and directly invest in an organization that operates at the expense of the environment….’. Fossil fuel companies operate at the expense of the environment. By not divesting, UNSW is incurring unnecessary financial risk (e.g. declining share value, companies like Peabody going bankrupt or left with stranded assets), and is contravening core components of its own investment policy.
  • Abundant technology now exists to provide energy without fossil fuels. Coal is slowly running out, and its bad for the climate. I see no reason to continue to invest in coal, and every reason to invest in popular energy alternatives. These will become increasingly popular in the next few years, and thus investment is ideal for the economy anyway, not just the environment. Sign up amigos!

Updates

2015-07-28 21:52:37 -0400

500 signatures reached

2013-06-24 07:05:16 -0400

100 signatures reached