To: University of Warwick Vice Chancellor

Get BP Off the University of Warwick's Campus

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Campaign created by
Connor Woodman
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We, the undersigned, call upon the University of Warwick’s management to:

1. Enter into arrangements with BP to transfer control of the BP Archive to the University: BP’s only UK-based corporate archive is housed in the Modern Records Centre on Warwick’s campus. [1] It is controlled and managed by BP, and much of the material is unavailable to researchers. We call on BP to transfer the material to a third party – the expert archivists of the Modern Records Centre – to be managed in the public interest. If BP fail to do so, the threat of using the building for a different archive should be considered. To have a privatised space managed by a major fossil fuel company at the heart of our campus is shameful, given that climate scientists have established that around 4/5ths of oil, coal and gas must stay underground to avoid two degrees of warming. [2] BP uses the Archive to promote its image and shape academic debate. Hosting one of the UK’s largest oil companies in our community legitimises BP’s actions and is in clear tension with Warwick’s commitment to divest from fossil fuels.

2. Deny BP and other fossil fuel companies representation at University careers fairs and other Careers & Skills events: The presence of fossil fuel companies at careers fairs allows them to promote work in an industry which needs to be rapidly dismantled if we are to stop runaway climate change. The fact that these companies can buy their way into our careers fair is unacceptable. This situation is neither sustainable for those encouraged to join the industry, nor ethically sound. We call on Warwick to provide students with ethical careers advice and opportunities instead, including in the renewable energy sector.

3. Support a clean energy future and green jobs: Warwick must refocus research and expertise on climate solutions, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, and phase out climate-damaging fossil fuel research.

4. Stop the greenwash: Publish full details of the University’s ties, financial and otherwise, to the fossil fuel industry. Stop giving out honorary degrees to fossil fuel industry CEOs, which celebrate and give greater legitimacy to practices that endanger our planet. Instead, Warwick should reward those whose work paves the way for an alternative and clean energy future. Freeze all existing sponsorship and advertising from fossil fuel companies, and cease to accept them in future. [3]

Why is this important?

If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. Too many UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research, their endowments and investments, and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, such as BP and Shell.

In July 2015 Warwick committed to divest from fossil fuels (move their investments away from stocks in fossil fuel companies); the first visible sign that they agree that halting catastrophic climate change requires withdrawing support from the industry that drives it. [4] We now call on the university to demonstrate more significantly their commitment to addressing the climate crisis, and confront the rapacious industry that is intending on digging up and burning every last atom of carbon in the ground.

We have chosen BP as a prime target for the University to sever their ties with, given the close connection the University has with the company. In order to have a decent chance of avoiding 2 degrees warming, the internationally recognised upper-limit for disastrous climate change, climate scientists have found that at least 4/5ths of coal, oil and gas must stay in the ground. BP is showing little sign that it intends to leave its oil reserves in the ground. [5]

Climate change has been named the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century” by Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. [6] At a time when we need an unprecedented shift away from fossil fuel energy, BP’s chief executive received bonuses linked to the expansion of new fossil fuel projects, including the dirtiest fossil fuel of all: tar sands oil. [7] The company recently got the dubious honour of being named top of the table of European companies blocking the transition to the renewable economy. [8] Their business model is reckless, and it’s not just their contribution to climate change: BP is responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. [9] The company is also being sued in a British court for alleged complicity in the kidnap and torture of a union activist in Columbia. [10]

Going Fossil Free means more than just switching the University’s investment portfolio. It means taking concrete action to target and delegitimise the companies that are destroying our planet.

References:

[1] https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/holdings/
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/07/much-worlds-fossil-fuel-reserve-must-stay-buried-prevent-climate-change-study-says
[3] http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/press/press-releases/bp-announces-lord-browne-succession-plan.html
[4] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/university-of-warwick-divests-from-fossil-fuels
[5] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719
[6] http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0905/09051501
[7] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/25/oil-company-bosses-bonuses-1tr-spending-fossil-fuels
[8] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/21/bp-tops-the-list-of-firms-obstructing-climate-action-in-europe
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill
[10] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/22/colombian-takes-bp-to-court-in-uk-alleged-complicity-kidnap-and-torture

How it will be delivered

In hand, to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick

University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

Updates

2015-10-25 09:25:14 -0400

100 signatures reached

2015-10-21 07:27:14 -0400

50 signatures reached

2015-10-05 09:30:01 -0400

25 signatures reached

2015-09-28 07:13:53 -0400

10 signatures reached