Hitting fossil fuels where it hurts

Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts USA

There is a theory that the apartheid system in South Africa finally collapsed because of a concerted global effort to divest (remove investment funds) from businesses and other entities that had any connections to that country or the apartheid system.

The same thing may be happening with fossil fuels and climate change. This paragraph appeared in a Politico Newsletter this week:

THE DAM BREAKS — Academic endowments are entering a new normal after Harvard University, the richest school in the world, said it would divest from fossil fuels.

The decision wasn’t made lightly. The nearly $42 billion endowment succumbed to years of pressure from students and climate activists, a massive protest at a 2019 football game, and a string of legal efforts. President Lawrence Bacow in the past has said the endowment shouldn’t be used for political ends. Earlier this month he changed his tune.

“None of us will be spared the realities of climate change, which means we are all in this together,” he wrote.

This isn’t about Harvard. It’s about the beginning of the end. A cascade of similar announcements has followed in Harvard’s wake, with Boston University, the University of Minnesota and the $8 billion MacArthur Foundation pulling the plug on fossil fuels. And there are more to come.

“We’re going to see this ripple out in the coming months,” said Richard Brooks , climate finance director at the nonprofit Stand.earth. “The financial arguments have never been stronger, with declining demand for oil, gas and coal. The social acceptability has now shifted as well.”

POLITICO’s The Long Game longgame@email.politico.com 28 September 2021

If you are part of an institution with investment funds (if you are a student or have a pension you are!), you can do your part. Many small voices will be heard.