Faculty Petition for Fossil Fuel Divestment

312 faculty signatures and growing!

December 11, 2018

To President Bacow and Fellows of Harvard College:

More than four years have passed since Harvard Faculty for Divestment  called on the Corporation to divest our endowment from the fossil fuel industry. In our open letter of April 2014, we urged the Corporation to consider the consequences of continued dependence on fossil fuels: extreme weather, acidified oceans, reductions in biodiversity, and manifold harms to human health with disproportionate impact on the poor. We reminded the Corporation that in the midst of a looming crisis, this industry uses its influence on government and the media to distort accepted science and obstruct our rapid and just transition to sustainable forms of energy.

Since the publication of our 2014 letter, we’ve learned that the harm caused by fossil fuels is even more severe than previously projected. The International Panel on Climate Change’s latest Special Report establishes that we must stop using fossil fuels entirely within our students’ lifetimes if we are to prevent global catastrophe. But the fossil fuel industry, having misled the public for decades with anti-science misinformation campaigns, continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions and dark money aimed at promoting further exploration, extraction and sales of its product.

For these reasons, we support the open letter recently presented to you by Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice. These students understand the central issue: Harvard Management Corporation’s continued investment in the fossil fuel industry is discordant with our mission and with the purposes of the endowment. Indeed, this industry’s misconduct is so egregious and its global consequences so dire, that it warrants investor action at least as decisive as in the case of tobacco or apartheid South Africa.

It is past time for Harvard to divest from fossil fuels.

Signed,

Janet Beizer
Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Joyce E. Chaplin
James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History
Affiliated Professor of the History of Science
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Eric Chivian
Founder and Director Emeritus
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
Shared 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for Co-founding International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
______
Harvey Cox
Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Emeritus
Harvard Divinity School
______
Norman Daniels
Saltonstall Professor of Ethics and Population Health, Emeritus
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
______
James Engell
Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Bruce Hay
Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
______
Alice Jardine
Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Duncan Kennedy
Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence
Harvard Law School
______
Nancy Krieger
Professor of Social Epidemiology
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
______
Regina LaRocque
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
______
Jane Mansbridge
Charles F. Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values
Harvard Kennedy School
______
Stephen Alan Marglin
Walter S. Barker Professor of Economics
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Jim Recht
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
______
Nancy L. Rosenblum
Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Caren Solomon
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
______
John Spengler
Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
______
Richard F. Thomas
George Martin Lane Professor of Classics
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard College Professor
______
Daniel Wikler
Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Ethics and Population Health
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
______
Nicholas Watson
Professor of English and Chair of Medieval Studies
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
______
Shoshana Zuboff
Charles Edward Wilson Professor, Emerita
Harvard Business School

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