Tag Archives: climate change


13 Feb

IMG_9316IMG_9342_1https://www.facebook.com/edunipeopleandplanet?fref=tsToday people gathered from across the world to demand a fossil free future – one that is free from the injustices of climate change, exacerbated by our continued investment in fossil fuels. Students and staff at Edinburgh University gathered to increase pressure on the university’s ongoing discussions on fossil fuel divestment, looking to reach a critical stage in the next month. The University of Edinburgh continues to invest over £30 million of it’s endowment fund in fossil fuel companies. This is not a sustainable, ethical or socially responsible use of such funds. We demand the university to:

– Immediately freezes any new investment in fossil fuel companies.

– Divests from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years. (By fossil fuel companies we refer to the index of the top 200 fossil fuel companies: http://tinyurl.com/nydvfjg

Action cards were signed, chants were sung and a big model of the Earth was attempted to be kept in the people’s hands, whilst ‘oil monsters’ tried to undermine our efforts…Check out photos from our action here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricjl/sets/72157650732921726/

And tweet the university today and tomorrow: @Edinburghuni #divest



Investment Consultation: “We campaign because it’s the right thing to do”

22 Jan

Last night around 70 University of Edinburgh students turned out to the first ever consultation event on university investments. No other university has gone this far – to set up a consultation period for students and staff to feed in their ideas about how the university should invest its £284 million endowment fund. The debate was lively, the ideas varied, as students presented their thoughts on ending investments into arms and fossil fuel companies.

Spearheaded by Dave Gorman, new Director of Sustainability, the consultation period begins this week and ends in March. This clear precedent set by the University of Edinburgh follows from a controversial decision last October to cease investing in Ultra Electronics, a company making components for military drones, due to student popular demand. Campaign group People & Planet, who are calling on universities to end their links with fossil fuel companies through investments and sponsorship, welcomed the Consultation, saying it was a unique opportunity for the University of Edinburgh to be a leader in divesting from harmful companies.

A panel of speakers led the debate and answered questions from the audience. Bella Crowe, of People & Planet, outlined the hugely destructive potential that fossil fuel companies have in terms of fuelling catastrophic climate change, and called for a divestment policy to be created that would screen out companies exploiting fossil fuels.

Kirsty Haigh, Vice President of Services, gave a context to the ethical investment campaign, outlining the student demands of making the university investment structure more democratic, transparent and accountable.

Dave Gorman, Director of Sustainability, expressed his commitment to the Consultation, saying “We need to listen to people’s point of view.” He said that there would be a wide range of views expressed and that not everyone may be happy with the end result.

Finally, Professor of Ethics Michael Northcott gave an inspirational speech calling on undergraduate students to be more active in the university, stressing that a small group of passionate people had the potential to change the world. He emphasised the ethical foundations that campaigns like Fossil Free have, maintaining that student demands should not depend on logical or pragmatic outcomes, but on underlying ethical responsibilities and considerations. We don’t campaign on things because they’re feasible, said Professor Northcott, but because “it’s the right thing to do.”

Students voiced wide-ranging views on ethical investment, from issues surrounding corporate sponsorship of some university departments, to the seriousness of the carbon bubble. Robbert Bosschler, postgraduate student in Integrated Resource Management felt that “not enough is invested in green companies that actually create the jobs that we want to have. If the university invested away from fossil fuels, it would create more jobs in the green sector, and invest in our students – our product – so they can actually implement the things they learnt in their university degrees.”

The Consultation can be viewed online, and is open until March 7th for any student or staff member to submit their comments and opinions. For more information about the Consultation or about the Responsible Investment Campaign, please contact felicitymonk99@gmail.com.

Universities under fire for investing in fossil fuel polluters

21 Oct

The Herald has just published this article by Rob Edwards about the investments of universities in Scotland in fossil fuel companies. They need to take action – the University of Edinburgh has just announced a review, so let’s make sure they know this isn’t ok!

We urgently need to take action to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels; but governments aren’t doing enough, and fossil fuel companies are doing all they can to protect their damaging business model.

It’s time for UK Universities to go Fossil Free – YouTube

3 Oct

New video from the national fossil free campaign about why its time for universities to go fossil free!

It’s time for UK Universities to go Fossil Free – YouTube.

Do The Math!

30 Jul

As a little preview to our screening of the exiting documentary “Do The Math” next semester here are a few numbers that all of us – even the most dyscalculic of us – should know about:

2 degrees — Almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe. We have already raised the temperature .8°C, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the climate dice are loaded for both devastating floods and drought.

565 gigatons — Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. Computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 levels now, the temperature would still rise another 0.8 degrees above the 0.8 we’ve already warmed, which means that we’re already 4/5 of the way to the 2 degree target.

2,795 gigatons — The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts, estimates that proven coal, oil, and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies, equals about 2,795 gigatons of CO2, or five times the amount we can release to maintain 2 degrees of warming.

… To grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis, you just need to do a little math. Fossil fuel corporations have 5 times more oil and coal and gas in known reserves than climate scientists think is safe to burn. We have to keep 80% of their fossil fuels underground to keep the earth in livable shape!

Want be extra sure not miss the screening? Follow us by simply clicking on the follow buttom in the top corner!

For more information and statistics: http://gofossilfree.org/faq/

Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, figures show | Environment | guardian.co.uk

18 Jun

This article suggests that fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables! This has to stop…more investment is needed to fund the transition to clean energy, and shouldn’t be put into unsustainable fossil fuels that are destroying our climate. We’re calling on universities to do their part in this as well, shifting funds out of oil and natural gas and in the process, avoiding the risk of being financially burnt when the carbon bubble crashes.

George Monbiot calls for fossil fuel divestment

30 May

Many universities, including the University of Edinburgh, have long since taken the decision to divest from Tobbaco, in recognition of the contradiction between holding stocks in the Tobacco industry and doing research to tackle its health effects.

But why have these same universities, who engage in research on climate change – a health threat on a scale much larger than that of tobbaco –   not applied the same logic to their investments in oil funds, Monbiot asks in this Guardian article.


Creative Commons: Normand Desjardins