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To: Vice-Chancellor Janice Reid and the Board of Trustees

Divest UWS from Fossil Fuels

Divest UWS from Fossil Fuels

We call on the University of Western Sydney 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 UWS is serious about sustainability, reinforcing the universities image as a modern, progressive institution.

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?

UWS cites a vision of "Sustainability as a CORE business", continued investment in fossil fuels is in opposition to this vision.

As UWS continues to establish itself as a leader in campus sustainability, it must be ready to engage in sustainable practices at all levels-especially with regards to its investment activities.

The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. In this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and floods, which impacted thousands of people.

Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters.

The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.

The health impacts of climate change will be extensive, ranging from greater amounts of heat-related illness and vector-borne disease, loss of food sources, as well as the extensive mental health issues from the changing environment. As a university with a medical school and a multitude of allied health faculties it is a responsible move to take the preventative steps to avoiding these health issues.

We believe such action will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.

University of Western Sydney Parramatta, James Ruse Drive, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

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2015-09-06 06:55:45 -0400

10 signatures reached