Divesting from Fossil Fuels is Advised Due to Climate Change

by admin on January 8, 2019

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Divestment is now considered a ‘material risk’ by fossil fuel industries

From an Article by Sami Grover, Treehugger Blog, December 19, 2018

It’s been amazing to watch how the fossil fuels divestment movement has grown in a few short years. When Harvard students voted to divest back in 2012, for example, the conversation was mostly about undermining Big Energy’s social license to operate. A year later, when Bill McKibben made the case for divestment he focused mostly on the idea of churches, universities and other symbolic institutions making these companies ‘pariahs’.

Now, in honor of the 1,000th institution signing up to divest (bringing the total value to nearly $8 trillion), Bill McKibben has an excellent update on the state of the movement over at The Guardian. While the symbolism of all this still matters, says the maestro, it’s also becoming clear that divestment has become a very real financial force in and of itself:

Peabody, the world’s biggest coal company, announced plans for bankruptcy in 2016; on the list of reasons for its problems, it counted the divestment movement, which was making it hard to raise capital. Indeed, just a few weeks ago analysts at that radical collective Goldman Sachs said the “divestment movement has been a key driver of the coal sector’s 60% de-rating over the past five years”. [...] Now the contagion seems to be spreading to the oil and gas sector, where Shell announced earlier this year that divestment should be considered a “material risk” to its business.

Indeed, no sooner does McKibben write this piece than Cleantechnica reports that Westmoreland, the 6th largest coal company in the US, is filing for bankruptcy too.

True, divestment is hardly the only reason certain fossil fuel companies are in trouble. 42% of coal plants are losing money already, and that figure is only going to get worse as renewables get cheaper and polluting gets more expensive. Similarly, Big Oil may not be sweating the Tesla Model 3 just yet, but there’s a growing list of diverse threats that could soon converge to put a dent in demand.

And that’s the thing: Incumbents seem invincible until one day they are not. And anyone who knows anything about climate change is beginning to realize that there is no sane, sustainable or morally justifiable version of the future in which we continue to burn fossil fuels any longer than we have to. As Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has said: Most fossil fuels are unburnable. And that makes them basically worthless.

Investors would do well to take note.

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NOTE: Amalgamated Bank embraces socially responsible causes

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Duane Nichols January 15, 2019 at 12:17 am

The CEO of Interface, Jay Gould, will be joining Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environment on stage at the 7th Responsible Business Summit New York [March 18-19] to discuss how business can achieve growth while providing a net-positive impact on the environment.

This event will be 2019’s must-attend event for professionals looking to learn new ideas and strategies on how their business can take the lead in shaping the future of [sustainable] business.

Over 500 delegates will attend and 80+ senior level speakers including:
James F. Kenny, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Satya Tripathi, assistant secretary-general, UN Environment
John Kern, SVP, supply chain operations, Cisco
Jay Gould, CEO, Interface
Kurt Summers, treasurer, City of Chicago
Judy Cotte, vice president & head, corporate governance & responsible investment, RBC Global Asset Management
Anne Van Riel, head of sustainable finance Americas, ING
Jostein Solheim, executive vice president, F&R, Unilever
Marilyn Ceci, director, head of green bonds, JP Morgan
Andy Pharoah, vice president, corporate affairs, strategic initiatives & sustainability, Mars
Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech
Virginie Helias, vice president global sustainability, P&G
Tom Murray, vice president, EDF
Jon Mitchell, Mayor, City of New Bedford
Michael Garland, assistant comptroller – corporate governance and responsible investment, New York City Comptroller
Hervé P. Duteil, managing director, CSO, Americas, BNP Paribas
Ernesto Ciorra, chief innovability officer, Enel

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Jake Johnson January 21, 2019 at 12:18 am

Global Divestment Movement Celebrates Milestone: 1,000 Institutions With Nearly $8 Trillion in Assets Have Vowed to Ditch Fossil Fuels

By Jake Johnson, EcoWatch.com, December 13, 2018

While the COP24 climate talks are at risk of ending without a concrete plan of action thanks in large part to the Trump administration’s commitment to a dirty energy agenda, environmental groups on Thursday celebrated a major milestone in the global movement to take down the fossil fuel industry after the number of public and private institutions that have vowed to divest from oil, gas and coal companies surpassed 1,000.

“When this movement started in 2012, we aimed to catalyze a truly global shift in public attitudes to the fossil fuel industry, and people’s willingness to challenge the institutions that financially support it,” May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said in a statement. “While diplomats at the U.N. climate talks are having a hard time making progress, our movement has changed how society perceives the role of fossil fuel corporations and is actively keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

According to 350, the institutions that have committed to divesting from fossil fuels hold nearly $8 trillion USD in combined assets. The 1,000th institution to vow to divest was Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC), which manages France’s public sector savings, pensions and investments.

Coinciding with the new milestone, 350.org published a new report (detailing the rapid growth of the fossil fuel divestment movement over the past several years as climate science has made clear the necessity of immediately and boldly slashing carbon emissions to avoid global devastation.

“Since 2012, the fossil fuels divestment campaign has grown faster than any previous divestment movement,” the report notes. “From 181 institutions and $50 billion worth of assets committed to divestment at the end of 2013 to now more than 1,000 institutions with over $7.9 trillion in assets committed to divest from fossil fuels, we are slamming on the brakes of fossil fuel expansion.”

“Momentum for divestment has only accelerated: pledges span 37 countries with over 65 percent of commitments coming from outside the United States, and now include major capital cities, mainstream banks and insurance companies, massive pension funds, faith groups, cultural, health and educational institutions—the institutions serving billions of people,” the report continues.

“This is a major milestone for the movement for a just transition to a zero carbon, sustainable future for everyone,” added Ric Lander, divestment campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “Behind almost every one of these commitments is a group of committed people fighting for climate action and they should be proud of their achievements. They’ve persuaded, protested and brought the inarguable evidence of their case to decision makers and won them over.”

With the 1,000 institution landmark reached, 350 said the global movement’s next ambitious goal is 2,020 divestments totaling $12 trillion in combined assets by 2020.

“For those investors who persist in engaging with the fossil fuel industry, despite mounting evidence of its failure to achieve anything, we ask them to change tack as the science and justice demands in this moment,” 350′s report concluded. “If companies are not on track to keep their reserves in the ground or play their part in meeting the 1.5°C target, investors must walk away. The clock is ticking on multiple carbon bombs around the world as we approach 2020.”

https://www.ecowatch.com/fossil-fuel-divestment-institutions-2623328911.html

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