Harvard should completely divest its endowment from holdings in the fossil fuel industry.
Last April, Colin Butterfield of the Harvard Management Company (HMC) announced a “pause” in Harvard’s investments in minerals, oil, and gas. However, he meant only that the University was not directly investing in those fossil fuels at the time; his statement did not reflect any tangible commitment from Harvard to divest either in part or in full from the fossil fuel industry. By continuing to invest its $37.1 billion endowment in an industry that threatens the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants, the University is putting its students’ futures at risk and failing to display moral leadership for other institutions of higher education.
Climate change poses a global threat. A recent report by the IPCC predicted disastrous effects of climate change occurring as soon as 2040, with the atmosphere warming by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Already in 2018, we are experiencing increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters, dramatic reductions in Arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels and temperatures at devastating human costs.
The fossil fuel industry is a chief perpetrator of climate change. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning comprised “76% of total U.S. anthropogenic GHG emissions” in 2016. Fossil fuel companies have worked to distort public information about climate change, funding climate skepticism and burying research on the impacts of fossil fuel burning.
Harvard has stood for centuries as a beacon of knowledge, discovery, and service and should not put its long-term survival at risk for short-term economic gains. Recognizing our role as both Harvard students and world citizens, we have a duty to hold Harvard accountable for realizing its principles. It’s time to divest Harvard.
Sign this petition and tell Harvard that the time to #Divest is NOW!