The Guardian have reported that the University of Edinburgh is dumping all its fossil fuel investments, making it the largest UK university endowment fund to be completely free of all coal, oil and gas holdings.
The decision was announced on Monday and followed a long student campaign. More than 60 UK universities have now divested from fossil fuels, with the University of Sussex the latest to make the move.
Most existing fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned without causing dangerous climate change, and proponents of divestment argue this makes fossil fuel companies bad investments on both ethical and financial grounds. The risk to investments is taken seriously at the highest level, including the Bank of England, World Bank and the G20’s financial stability board, and many major investment firms have also divested.
The University of Edinburgh decided in 2015 to divest from the most polluting companies – those involved in coal and tar sands – but stopped short of full divestment. But now the university will sell its final £6.3m of fossil fuel holdings, in the companies Total, BG Group and Atlas Copco.
The University of Edinburgh’s £1bn endowment fund is the third largest in the UK, behind Cambridge and Oxford. Those universities have only committed to divest from coal and tar sands to date.
Tara Wight, campaigner at People and Planet Edinburgh and a PhD student, said: “We are thrilled that Edinburgh University has finally realised the importance of divestment, and decided to match their investment portfolio with the environmentally friendly image they present to the public.”
Prof Charlie Jeffery, senior vice-principal at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I’m very proud of the university’s decision. Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges. Over the past few years, we have thought hard about how to respond to that challenge. This change in our investment strategy is a vital step on that journey.”
A university spokesman said Edinburgh had invested more than £150m in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment since 2010 and would become carbon neutral by 2040.
In January, New York City announced it would sell $5bn of fossil fuel investments held by the city’s pension funds. The value of investment funds around the world committed to selling off fossil fuel assets is at least $5tn.
Read the story here herehttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/06/edinburgh-university-divests-from-all-fossil-fuels?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other