What is fossil fuel divestment, and why should I care?
Check out this brief overview from 350.org
How would Stanford divesting even make a difference?
Great question! It's a good reason that Fossil Free Stanford is part of a national and international divestment movement. Over 1000 institutions have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, which in total is over 11 trillion dollars. By putting Stanford's 27 billion dollar endowment into the mix, we can contribute to a paradigm shift in how the public views the fossil fuel industry as untrustworthy. We can also create the momentum for other elite institutions to divest as well-- when they see that we have done it, they feel that they can as well.
By divesting, Stanford no longer gets a shareholder vote. Why would you want that?
Isn't divestment too expensive? The university has a fiduciary duty!
If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts, we cannot burn all of the fossil fuel reserves that we currently have. To do so would increase temperatures to the point where humans would be unable to survive. As such, all investments in fossil fuels are expected to lose money due to the industry's loss of capital. To continue investing in the fossil fuel industry just does not make financial sense.
Currently, 9% of our endowment is invested in energy sources, and it has the lowest rate of return for the university. We argue that by divesting, the university can invest in more alternative/renewable resources and increase their rate of return while also not being complicit in an industry responsible for climate change.
Isn't recycling or reducing waste on campus a more tangible way to fight climate change?
While we do need sustainability efforts on campus, that's not enough to prevent catastrophic climate change. Small measures are no longer an option for us given the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need divestment to hold those responsible accountable for our current situation: the fossil fuel corporations.
Won't divestment reduce financial aid for FLI students?
Renewables/alternative energy returns are increasing, while fossil fuel corporations have lower and lower returns. We foresee Stanford increasing its return on investment by divesting. Thus, financial aid will not be affected.
Direct Action FAQs
What is a Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA)?
NVDA is a peaceful act in which participants choose not to comply with laws or rules as a means of protest.
What is the difference between an act of civil disobedience and NVDA?
Civil disobedience is also a form of NVDA, but it is more specific. This tactic is used to bring attention to an unjust law or rule by breaking it, in order to push for its repeal.
Why is Fossil Free planning direct action now?
For seven years, Stanford students, faculty, and alumni have called upon the Board to divest from fossil fuels. For decades, the dangerous ramifications of climate change have been apparent. Yet Stanford continues to maintain a vested interest in the success of fossil fuel companies, companies which have understood the consequences of their product for forty years and have buried the truth beneath irresponsible lies.
Now is the time when Stanford’s divestment will have maximal impact in making our climate hospitable. We are part of a national movement calling for all of our institutions to divest by Earth Day, 2020