Climate Change Awareness Climbs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 (Listed under Environment)

In February, I posted this article on the Huffington Post: "Clean Energy Powers College and University Endowments.

In it, I wrote: "with the impacts of climate change directly impacting global commerce, with private equity investors distancing themselves from unsustainable investments, with clean energy delivering winning returns, and with more endowments turning toward the sun and the wind and away from business as usual, colleges and university endowments now have a rational and pragmatic incentive for divestment. Whether the next school to divest is Harvard University, where 72 percent of the student body voted to demand divestment, or a rural, southern school like Clemson University, both now have plenty of market data to consider."

Today, The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg (@suzyji) reported that managers of Harvard University's $33 billion endowment have adopted UN-backed responsible investment rules:

Though this is not an announcement that Harvard University has decided to divest from fossil fuels (trust me, they will eventually), it is evidence that increased awareness of global climate change impacts, and the persistence of college and university students calling on their administrations to consider the social and economic benefits of divesting from polluting energy companies, is working.

The divestment movement was initiated by Harvard University graduate and founder of Bill McKibben, who in a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, commented: 

"But universities, in the end, are one of the few places in our civilization where reason still stands a good chance of prevailing over power."

A brilliant and thoughtful Harvard graduate has helped his alma mater move forward and that is the best new thing I've learned today!


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