500 signatures reached
Reed College: Go Fossil Free!
To: President John Kroger and the Board of Trustees
Under the conviction that the investment decisions of our College are bound by the Honor Principle, we make three demands. First, the Board shall freeze new investments in funds that hold stock of the 200 largest fossil fuel companies (Appendix A) and to divest existing holdings in these funds within ten years. Second, the Investment Responsibility Policy shall be revised to institute consideration of ethical questions alongside economic concerns. Third, the Trustees shall annually publish the magnitude of its holdings. Considering student, faculty, and alumni attention to the issue, a public report of your decisions is warranted in the form of an open letter to the community.
Why is this important?
Fossil fuel extraction continues to accelerate globally despite increasingly urgent scientific predictions about the pace and progress of climate change. At current CO2 levels above 400 ppm (1), we are almost locked into at least 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the lower bound on safe warming (2). The total reserves of the fossil fuel sector hold five times as much carbon as remains in our two-degree carbon budget, and if extracted and burned threaten unpredictable and possibly catastrophic climate change (3).
Consumption of fossil fuel energy is not going to diminish without significant global policy action, but the political influence of the fossil fuel industry has immobilized meaningful national and international climate policy. Reed’s investments in fossil fuel industry, likely adding up to tens of millions of dollars, represent political and financial support for such projects. We reject the notion that financing and profiting from fossil fuel industry can be understood as politically “neutral.” The compelling social and moral character of the political impasse of climate change warrants the consideration of divestment under our Investment Responsibility Policy. Moreover, these investments are a breach of our “commitment to the global environment” espoused in the Environmental Policy Statement. We insist that it is dishonorable for our College to profit from the extraction, transportation, and burning of fossil fuels, which cause environmental destruction on a vast scale as well as immense public health issues in areas of industrial activity (4).
As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Reed College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Reed College 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 to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
How it will be delivered
This petition will be delivered to the Board of Trustees special committee on divestment at the April meeting of the Board on Reed's campus.
Rachel G.2015-03-24 17:16:40 -0400
Geraldine R.2015-03-24 16:22:44 -0400
Noah S.2015-03-15 16:01:29 -0400
Ryan W.2015-03-15 16:01:29 -0400
Sarah P.2015-03-15 16:01:29 -0400
Claire B.2015-03-15 16:01:28 -0400
Linda G.2015-03-11 02:14:04 -0400
David B.2015-02-23 11:00:28 -0500
Maggie D.2015-02-16 20:45:36 -0500
Anthony B.2015-01-18 20:43:52 -0500