Faculty Petition for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Updated 7/4/2020:
1125 faculty signatures and growing!

December 11, 2018

To President Bacow and Fellows of Harvard College:

More than four five 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,

Harvard Faculty for Divestment


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