We want Trinity College and its subsidiaries to divest completely from fossil fuel companies. This means selling existing stocks, bonds, or investment funds and freezing any new investments.
- Ethical Reasons:
“If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage” – Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. Fossil fuel divestment takes the fossil fuel industry to task for its culpability in the climate crisis. By naming this industry’s singularly destructive influence, and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change we hope that the fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.
- Economic Reasons:
80% of fossil fuel reserves owned by companies must be left in the ground to have a significant chance of staying below 2 degrees of global warming. This calculation, carried out by the London School of Economics and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, means that investments in fossil fuel companies are inherently risky as more and more of their assets become stranded in the global attempt to stay within accepted warming levels. Add on top of this, the fact that 674 billion dollars is spent annually searching for new fossil fuel reserves and it becomes clear that there is a failure of fossil fuel companies to recognise this risk.
The Bottom Line
From an environmental and humanitarian perspective of attempting to avoid climate tipping points, 80% of fossil fuel reserves are worthless as they are unburnable; however stock markets continue to place value on these “proven” reserves. So either we accept irreversible, catastrophic climate change to occur and allow the fossil fuel industry retain its economic value, or we encourage the global community to impose effective greenhouse gas legislation, which will save the climate but devalue fossil fuel investments. As universities have, on average, 5% of their endowments invested in fossil fuel companies, we believe that universities should consider this risk of devaluation to their investments. Considering also, the compelling ethical argument of divesting from an industry so singularly involved in such reckless and destructive actions, we feel extremely passionate about Trinity College joining the rapidly growing fossil free movement; to remove their money and support from the fossil fuel industry.