50 signatures reached
To: KU Endowment Board of Trustees
University of Kansas: Go Fossil Free!
We call on KU Endowment to freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds, and in doing so prevent its continued participation in, profiting off, and implicit support of the fossil fuel industry which is jeopardizing our collective future.
Why is this important?
The threat of climate change is growing and the need for action is becoming more and more urgent with every passing day. Unless significant action is taken to change the course we are on our legacy to future generations, and to ourselves in the coming years and decades, will be one filled with increasing climatic chaos and the social, environmental and financial losses and damage associated with it. In light of this we call on KU Endowment to freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds and in doing so prevent its continued participation in, profiting off, and implicit support of the fossil fuel industry which is jeopardizing our collective future.
We believe such action on behalf of the KU Endowment will not only be a clear indication of KU’s commitment to tackling climate change but also a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, for already institutions, such as the University of Oxford, Aviva Investors, HSBC Bank and others, are beginning to take action to move away from what they believe to be increasingly stranded high carbon assets which could lose up to 60% of their value. With KU having over $1.3 billion in investments, on average we could have close on $100 million of such potentially stranded high carbon assets invested in fossil fuel intensive industries such as mining, oil services, and utilities that burn fossil fuels according to generalized estimates calculated by 350.org.
Given the size of KU's endowment and our geopolitical position, a divestment from KU would be a significant achievement, especially when viewed together with the achievements of the growing global divestment movement. Such a strategy was used with great success to help end Apartheid and hopefully through similarly heeding the calls of our moral compass we can use it to help slow runaway climate change.
Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify tragic climate disasters and jeopardize our future well-being. 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. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone the US experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion in damages.
As an institution accountable for its policies and results and dedicated to ensuring provision for the future, we call on KU Endowment to invest in a safe one for us. Continued investment in fossil fuels, we believe, is inimical to such a provision, and so we call on KU to join the growing number of institutions who are divesting from fossil fuel companies so as to better achieve its own stated goals of ensuring a better future for our university, and for all of humanity.