100 signatures reached
To: Governing Council
We, the undersigned University of Toronto Students, call on U of T to overturn the President’s 2016 decision not to divest the University’s holdings in fossil fuel companies. We call on the University’s Governing Council to announce its intent to cease any new investment in the fossil fuel industry and divest from the 200 companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves.
Why is this important?
Despite the administration’s claims to responsible investment practices, continuing to invest in fossil fuels makes this institution complicit in the colonial-minded extractivism that is damaging our world and oppressing its peoples--even if we pretend it is financially sound to invest in an industry that is going to have to be phased out in the near future.
Since Toronto350.org submitted the first fossil fuel divestment petition to Governing Council, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report calling for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; this declaration includes clauses such as Article 29, “Indigenous Peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands,” which governments such as Canada’s continue to allow fossil fuel companies to ignore.
Moreover, since President Gertler made the decision not to divest U of T from fossil fuel corporations, the Paris Climate Agreement has gone into effect. This accord commits the international community to holding global warming at “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels; even a 75% chance of meeting this target requires over 75% of known fossil fuel reserves to be left in the ground.
There is now no way to pretend that continuing to invest in fossil fuel corporations is in line with the spirit of related international decisions; supporting these companies in any way is inconsistent with the commitment keep global warming under 2°C or to recognizing the rights of the peoples whose lands are stolen for, and poisoned by, fossil fuel extraction.
Continuing to invest in an industry that scientific consensus states must be phased out is not a neutral, apolitical decision based on sound management practices; it is the politics of continued colonization and the ideology of extractivism that puts profit over inconvenient facts. We call on Governing Council to stand up to the President and assert that no amount of “green” campus initiatives or glossy reports will change the fact that there is no responsible investing in fossil fuels.