Ahead of the December Climate summit in Paris, the Guardian newspaper launches a global campaign to raise awareness on the need to divest from fossil fuel assets
The Keep it in the Ground campaign asks the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. More than 70,000 signatures have been received the day following the campaign launch.
According to the newspaper, "climate change poses a real threat to all of us, and it is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal".
"More than 200 institutions, worth over $50bn (£33bn), have committed to divest from fossil fuels, including universities, local authorities, faith organisations and pension funds. A coalition of philanthropic foundations, including the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, started to pull out their investments last year, while cities divesting include San Francisco, Seattle and Oslo. The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), recently revealed it had dropped 114 companies, including tar sands producers, on climate grounds".
"Divestment is the opposite of investment – it is the removal of stocks, bonds or funds from certain sectors or companies. The global movement for fossil fuel divestment (sometimes also called disinvestment) is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons. These institutions include universities, religious institutions, pension funds, local authorities and charitable foundations".
"Evidence shows that proven fossil fuel reserves are more than three times higher than we can afford to burn in order to stay below the generally agreed threshold for dangerous climate change. Fossil fuel companies are currently banking on extracting these reserves and selling them – and are actively prospecting for more. By supporting these companies, investors not only continue to fund unsustainable business models that are bound to make climate change worse, but they also risk their financial assets becoming worthless if international agreements on climate change are met".
Following the lauch of the campaign, the UNFCCC spokesperson said it was lending its “moral authority” to the divestment campaign, as it shared the ambition to get a strong deal to tackle global warming at the UN climate summit in Paris in December.
More information: #keepitintheground campaign