Tag Archives: Fossil fuel divestment

Stanford Students Demand Divestment From Fossil Fuel Industry During Lengthy Sit-In

Repost from KCBS740 / 5KPIX
[Editor:  Interesting news video, but I apologize for the commercial ad.  Perhaps best to go to Fossil Free Stanford’s Latest Blog Updates or their Live Images and Tweets.  Go Stanford students!!  – RS]

Stanford Students Demand Divestment From Fossil Fuel Industry During Lengthy Sit-In

November 20, 2015 12:09 PM


STANFORD (CBS SF) — Stanford University students and supporters were holding a rally Friday culminating a five-day sit-in calling for the college’s divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

More than 100 students have been camping out at the main quad since Monday afternoon outside University President John Hennessy’s office demanding administrators divest from the top 100 oil and gas companies .

The action was organized through Fossil Free Stanford, a student organization that has been working on the effort for nearly three years, organizer Michael Peñuelas said.

The group was inviting the administrators to address any concerns at the 11 a.m. rally, when students will be prepared to accept any charges the university may file against them, according to Peñuelas.

On Thursday night, the university sent the group a notice stating that administrators are considering suspension of their request for divestment from oil and gas companies due to the action, which was a disappoint for Peñuelas.

The notice also stated that if students didn’t leave the quad with their belongings by 5 p.m. Friday the university would review them under its Fundamental Standard, which outlines conduct expected from students, Peñuelas said.

The students have also violated the college’s use of the main quad policy and trespassed in violation of state law since they are blocking an administration building, according to university officials.

The sit-in is surrounding a building housing the university’s president and provost offices, where no staff have shown up since Monday, Peñuelas said.

The students plan to leave the quad at the end of the rally to participate in a Transgender Day of Remembrance scheduled in the afternoon, Peñuelas said.

The university has a Thanksgiving recess scheduled next week.

The group held a meeting with Hennessy on the issue last week and attempted to schedule another one with him for Friday, according to organizer Michael Peñuelas.

Throughout this week, professors have held classes at the quad in support of the group’s cause and teach-ins on environmental issues, Peñuelas said.

About 30 alumni rallied with the students on Thursday calling for divestment and said they will not make contributions to the university unless they follow through with the divestment, Peñuelas said.

Seniors have also pledged to not donate to the senior gift, a fundraiser that helps contribute to The Stanford Fund to assist in university scholarships, academic programs and student organizations , according to Peñuelas.

Last year, the university divested from the coal industry after a petition brought forward by Fossil Free Stanford and recommendations from the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing.

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    Exxon, Keystone, and the Turn Against Fossil Fuels

    Repost from The New Yorker
    [Editor:  Significant quote: “No one’s argued with the math, and that math indicates that the business plans of the fossil-fuel giants are no longer sane. Word is spreading: portfolios and endowments worth a total of $2.6 trillion in assets have begun to divest from fossil fuels. The smart money is heading elsewhere.”  – RS]

    Exxon, Keystone, and the Turn Against Fossil Fuels

    By Bill McKibben, November 6, 2015
    Protesters, in 2014, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone pipeline, which he did this week.
    Protesters, in 2014, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone pipeline, which he did this week. Credit Photograph by Laura Kleinhenz / Redux

    The fossil-fuel industry—which, for two centuries, underwrote our civilization and then became its greatest threat—has started to take serious hits. At noon today, President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline, becoming the first world leader to turn down a major project on climate grounds. Eighteen hours earlier, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he’d issued subpoenas to Exxon, the richest and most profitable energy company in history, after substantial evidence emerged that it had deceived the world about climate change.

    These moves don’t come out of the blue. They result from three things.

    The first is a global movement that has multiplied many times in the past six years. Battling Keystone seemed utterly quixotic at first—when activists first launched a civil-disobedience campaign against the project, in the summer of 2011, more than ninety per cent of “energy insiders” in D.C. told a National Journal survey that they believed that President Obama would grant Transcanada a permit for the construction. But the conventional wisdom was upended by a relentless campaign carried on by hundreds of groups and millions of individual people (including 350.org, the international climate-advocacy group I founded). It seemed that the President didn’t give a speech in those years without at least a small group waiting outside the hall to greet him with banners demanding that he reject the pipeline. And the Keystone rallying cry quickly spread to protests against other fossil-fuel projects. One industry executive summed it up nicely this spring, when he told a conference of his peers that they had to figure out how to stop the “Keystone-ization” of all their plans.

    The second, related, cause is the relentless spread of a new logic about the planet—that we have five times as much carbon in our reserves as we can safely burn. While President Obama said today that Keystone was not “the express lane to climate disaster,” he also said that “we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them.” This reflects an idea I wrote about in Rolling Stone three years ago; back then, it was new and a little bit fringe. But, this fall, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, speaking to members of the insurance industry at Lloyds of London, used precisely the same language to tell them that they faced a “huge risk” from “unburnable carbon” that would become “stranded assets.” No one’s argued with the math, and that math indicates that the business plans of the fossil-fuel giants are no longer sane. Word is spreading: portfolios and endowments worth a total of $2.6 trillion in assets have begun to divest from fossil fuels. The smart money is heading elsewhere.

    Which brings us to the third cause. There is, now, an elsewhere to head. In the past six years, the price of a solar panel has fallen by eighty per cent. For years, the fossil-fuel industry has labored to sell the idea that a transition to renewable energy would necessarily be painfully slow—that it would take decades before anything fundamental started to shift. Inevitability was their shield, but no longer. If we wanted to transform our energy supply, we clearly could, though it would require an enormous global effort.

    The fossil-fuel industry will, of course, do everything it can to slow that effort down; even if the tide has begun to turn, that industry remains an enormously powerful force, armed with the almost infinite cash that has accumulated in its centuries of growth. The Koch brothers will spend nine hundred million dollars on the next election; the coal-fired utilities are scurrying to make it hard to put solar panels on roofs; a new Republican President would likely resurrect Keystone. Even now, Congress contemplates lifting the oil-export ban, which would result in another spasm of new drilling. We’ll need a much larger citizen’s movement yet, if we’re going to catch up with the physics of the climate.

    We won’t close that gap between politics and physics at the global climate talks next month in Paris. The proposed agreement for the talks reflects some of the political shift that’s happened in years since the failed negotiations at Copenhagen, but it doesn’t fully register the latest developments—almost no nation is stretching. So Paris will be a way station in this fight, not a terminus.

    In many ways, the developments of the past two days are more important than any pledges and promises for the future, because they show the ways in which political and economic power has already started to shift. If we can accelerate that shift, we have a chance. It’s impossible, in the hottest year that humans have ever measured, to feel optimistic. But it’s also impossible to miss the real shift in this battle.

    Bill McKibben, a former New Yorker staff writer, is the founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College.
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      United Church of Canada Sells Fossil Fuel Holdings, Commits $6 Million to Alternative Energy to Save Creation

      Repost from The Christian Post

      United Church of Canada Sells Fossil Fuel Holdings, Commits $6 Million to Alternative Energy to Save Creation

      By Vincent Funaro , August 16, 2015|8:05 am
      UCCan_Sq250x250
      United Church of Canada

      The United Church of Canada plans to invest nearly $6 million into alternative energy sources that it acquired from selling all of its assets in fossil fuels. The denomination views the move as a bold step toward stewarding the gift of creation.

      “Care for creation and concern for the way that climate is impacting the most marginalized populations made this move an act of justice, of faith, and of solidarity with First Nations and other impacted communities,” said Christine Boyle, General Council commissioner of the United Church and a veteran climate advocate, according to the National Advocate.

      The church will sell off around $5.9 million in holdings from 200 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies.

      The United Church of Canada joins both Pope Francis and the Episcopal Church in their quest to help the environment.

      Leaders of the Episcopal Church voted to sell off the denomination’s holdings in fossil fuel, which amount to $380 million, in a move to combat climate change last month.

      “The vote says that this is a moral issue and that we really have to think about where we are putting our money,” said Betsy Blake Bennett, archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska.

      “At a point where we are losing species and where human life itself is threatened by climate change, the Church, by acting on it, is saying that this is a moral issue and something that everyone needs to look at seriously,” added Bennett.

      The Episcopal Church’s position echoes that of Francis who released an encyclical dealing with climate change back June. It dealt with how climate change is affecting God’s creation and was supported by over 300 Evangelical leaders.

      The 184-page “Laudato Si,” translated in English as “Praise Be to You,” included the pope’s response to these challenges from a spiritual perspective.

      “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; He never forsakes His loving plan or repents of having created us,” Francis wrote.

      “Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.”

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        Scientists call for end to tar sands mining

        Repost from The Guardian
        [Editor: This story is also covered (with great photos) in the National Observer, “Over 100 scientists call for oil sands moratorium.”  – RS]

        North American scientists call for end to tar sands mining

        More than 100 US and Canadian scientists publish letter saying tar sands crude should be relegated to fuel of last resort, because it causes so much pollution
        By Suzanne Goldenberg, 10 June 2015 13.14 EDT 
        The Syncrude tar sand site near to Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, Canada
        The Syncrude tar sand site near to Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, Canada | Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

        More than 100 leading US and Canadian scientists called for a halt on future mining of the tar sands, saying extraction of the carbon-heavy fuel was incompatible with fighting climate change.

        In a letter published on Wednesday, the researchers said tar sands crude should be relegated to a fuel of last resort, because it causes so much more carbon pollution than conventional oil.

        The letter, released two days after G7 countries committed to get off fossil fuels by the end of the century, added to growing international pressure on the Canadian government, which has championed the tar sands and is failing to meet its earlier climate goals.

        “If Canada wants to participate constructively in the global effort to stop climate change, we should first stop expanding the oil sands. More growth simply shows Canada has gone rogue,” Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of governance innovation at the University of Waterloo, said in a statement.

        The researchers included a Nobel prize winner, five holders of Canada’s highest national honour, and 34 researchers honoured by Canadian and US scientific societies.

        The researchers said it was the first time that scientists had come out as professionals in opposition to the tar sands. The letter offered 10 reasons for the moratorium call, ranging from extraction’s impact on local First Nations communities to destruction of boreal forests and climate change, and argued that foregoing tar sands production would not hurt the economy.

        They said they hoped to present those findings to Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, who has lobbied hard in Washington and European capitals for the tar sands.

        “We offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oil sands projects,” the scientists said in the letter.

        “No new oil sands or related infrastructure projects should proceed unless consistent with an implemented plan to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, safeguard biodiversity, protect human health, and respect treaty rights.”

        They said the decisions made by Canada and the US would set an important example for the international community, when it comes to fighting climate change. “The choices we make about the oil sands will reverberate globally, as other countries decide whether or how to develop their own large unconventional oil deposits,” the scientists said.

        Since 2000, Canada has doubled tar sands production, and Harper has lobbied Barack Obama to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would open up new routes to market for Alberta oil.

        The crash of oil prices will likely put some future projects on hold, but are unlikely to affect current production, analysts said.

        The organisers of the letter said all future projects should be shelved unless Canada put in place safeguards to protect local people and environment and prevent climate change.

        “The oil sands should be one of the first fuels we decide not to develop because of its carbon intensity,” said Thomas Sisk, professor of environmental science at Northern Arizona University, and one of the organisers of the letter.

        “It is among the highest emitting fuels in terms of greenhouse gas emissions … If we are trying to address the climate crisis this high carbon intensive fuel should be among the first we forego as we move to an economy based around cleaner fuels.”

        Researchers including Sisk first outlined reasons for opposition to the tar sands in Nature last year.

        Wednesday’s intervention deepens an emerging political and economic distinction around coal and tar sands among climate campaigners.

        As a fossil fuel divestment movement moves from college campuses to financial institutions, a number of prominent supporters, such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, moved swiftly to ditch coal and tar sands holdings, but plan more gradual moves away from oil and gas.

        Scientists agree that two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground to avoid warming above 2C, the internationally agreed threshold on catastrophic climate change.

        The Guardian supports the fossil fuel divestment campaign, and has called on two of the world’s largest health charities, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, to rid its holdings of coal, oil, and gas.

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