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.
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!
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For more information and statistics: http://gofossilfree.org/faq/
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.
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
Climate Change Refugees in Alaska – and Political Denial
There are some interesting articles and media here about climate change and its effects as they are already being felt in Alaska – including the need to evacuate whole villages. The other side of the story however is a politically-motivated ignorance of the causes of climate change by those in power. When will proper action be taken?
There are reports that oil and gas companies have been fixing prices in order to increase their profits. If true, this is further evidence both of these companies immorality (profiting from unsustainable activities) and a warning that these companies may not continue to stay profitable.
SFO considers criminal inquiry into alleged price fixing by oil firms | Law | The Guardian.
Another article on manipulation of prices
There’s a new trailer out for ‘Do the Math’, the new film by 350.org, the climate change campaign in the US which is spearheading the fossil free movement there. The message is simple, the maths obvious: we need to leave fossil fuel in the ground. And if oil and gas companies won’t take this step voluntarily, it’s our job to divest.
You can see the whole movie here (45 minutes long), and if you want to host a screening of the film, 350.org ask you to register it here so others can find it!