the divestment overview

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Why divest from fossil fuels?

It's not really that complicated. Scientific consensus says that we have already contributed 250 gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere from fossil fuels, and can only afford to risk – at most – another 565 gigatons. The industry already has reserves that would produce 2,795 gigatons of CO2. That does not include unconventional sources like tar sands, oil shale and methane hydrates. Failing to stop using fossil fuel before producing 565 gigatons more CO2 risks our ecosystem.

Divestment is a way to make a statement about this situation, which is both a moral/ethical issue and a financial issue.

  1. From a moral/ethical standpoint, we want to take away approval of companies that say they will gladly sell all available reserves. “Unconventional”, or “extreme” extraction not only adds to these available reserves, but has side effects of poisoning earth and water and air from the point of extraction. If enough institutions with endowments and other investors pick up the banner of divestment, that will be a clear signal that this needs to stop. It is a tactic that worked on apartheid in South Africa and should have similar effects with this issue.

  2. From a financial standpoint, the stated values of fossil fuel stocks assume their reserves are available for sale. This is either false or disastrous. As more and more corporations, foundations, educational institutions, etc., recognize either the false evaluation, or the moral problem of the investment and sell, the price of fossil fuel stocks will drop, leading to a “last man out, most money lost” phenomenon which could have a very negative effect on the College's endowment. Indeed, over recent months some sources indicate that fossil fuel stocks are already beginning to be outperformed by other sectors of the market, including green energy. According to NRDC Switchboard, Divestment outperforms conventional portfolios for the past 5 years ( )

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the_divestment_overview.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/14 16:44 by eda