Why Divestment? Why Fossil Fuel? Why Now?
DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGNS HAVE A HISTORY OF SUCCESS
♦ Divestment campaigns have proven to be a successful strategy for dismantling egregious moral injustices. They are social movements that create paradigm shifts in the political and financial sector, bringing justice to insufferable events.
♦ Campus divestment movements have revolved around social and human rights crises. University divestment campaigns helped weaken the South African apartheid regime and end the genocide in Sudan.
♦ A concerted national university divestment from fossil fuel companies (including coal) has the potential to shake their financial power, but most importantly, it will begin to illuminate their abuse of human health and the environment, and our moral imperative to stop this trajectory. The divestment campaign is the start to ending fossil fuel companies’ control over our future.
INDIVIDUALS CAN’T SOLVE THIS ALONE
♦ Fossil fuels are integrated into the very fabric of our society. They fuel the cars we drive. They produce the food we eat. They generate the electricity that turns on our lights and powers our refrigerators. They are components of products we use every day – from computers and bicycles, to cosmetics and Tupperware.
♦ Because fossil fuel is so deeply embedded into our lives, and because fossil fuel companies have such enormous wealth and political power, we feel that personal choices to boycott the use of fossil fuels, though important, will be limited in their effect.
UNIVERSITY INVESTMENT IN FOSSIL FUELS IS CONTRADICTORY AND SELF-DEFEATING
♦ Large institutions, including universities, have billions of dollars invested in fossil fuel through their endowments. But universities hold a special social responsibility – they represent the interests of future generations. It is therefore contradictory and self-defeating that our university invests its endowment in companies that threaten the future of its students and the planet.
FOSSIL FUEL IS THE BIGGEST DRIVER OF INCREASING CO2 EMISSIONS
♦ In order to maintain life on earth as we know it, we cannot allow global temperatures to rise more than 2º Celsius
♦ Climate change and temperature rise are mostly caused by humans who produce large amounts of CO2
♦ Fossil fuel is the biggest driver of increasing CO2 emissions
♦ Fossil fuel includes coal, oil (petroleum) and natural gas
THE PROBLEM OF CLIMATE CHANGE IS PRESSING
♦ Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, laid out the simple math of climate change:
1) We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon and stay below 2°C of warming
2) Fossil fuel corporations have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, ready for us to burn (five times more)
3) They are planning to burn it all and in doing so will earn around 27 trillion dollars
4) This will cause a temperature rise over 2°C, risking catastrophe for life on earth
♦ Developed nations, like the United States, are causing most of the climate change. Developing nations, like Africa, are the hardest hit with effects of climate change, and the least able to cope and adapt.
“The fossil fuel industry thinks that their bottom line is worth more than a livable planet. We must stop them and force them to keep 80% of fossil fuel reserves underground. If we do not, life as we know it on Earth is threatened.”