Quantcast

160 Environmental Leaders Urge Foundations to Divest From Fossil Fuels

An international group of 160 environmental leaders issued a challenge this morning to those who hold some significant pursestrings. They urged foundations and other charitable givers with combined holdings to divest from fossil fuels and free up billions of dollars to invest in clean energy.

They asked the foundations and givers to invest in clean energy companies, divest from fossil fuels and make grants to clean energy start-ups. They said they believe the December 2015 UN Climate Summit in Paris may be the last chance to save Earth's environment and that by redirecting their investments, foundations can help build a movement that will put pressure on the negotiators at the summit.

In their Environmental Laureates' Declaration on Climate Change, published in the International New York Times, the group said, "We, 160 winners of the world’s environmental prizes, call on foundations and philanthropists everywhere to deploy their endowments immediately in the effort to save civilization. The world’s philanthropic foundations, given the scale of their endowments, hold the power to trigger a survival reflex in society, so greatly helping those negotiating the climate treaty.”

The effort was spearheaded by the European Environment Foundation (EEF), which raised the money for the project via crowdfunding site Indiegogo and circulated the document for signatures.

“The world’s philanthropic foundations fund work which improves the lives of millions of people around the world, but if they want that work to last they can’t afford to ignore climate change," said EEF trustee Dr. Jeremy Leggett, who coordinated the project. "Investing in a clean energy future is the best way to safeguard their work and their finances. We hope this appeal will stimulate vital investment in a clean energy future, demonstrate support for an ambitious climate change treaty, and create space for a tipping point in climate action."

Signees represented the U.S., virtually every European country, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, Haiti, China, Nepal, India, Kenya, Cameroon, South Africa, Tanzania, Kuwait, Egypt and Palestine, among others. They included climate leaders such as Sophia Prize winner and noted author Bill McKibben; Chinese Hillary Laureate and Time Magazine Hero of the Environment Peggy Liu; Australia's Paul Gilding, winner of the Tomorrow Magazine Environmental Leadership Award; Canadian professor/researcher Paul Schindler, winner of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for his work on the destruction of freshwater lakes; and Dr. Harish Hande, whose work has focused on using sustainable technologies to eliminate poverty.

"Climate change has the capacity to overwhelm all efforts in other areas such as poverty and biodiversity," said Gilding. "Anyone concerned about improving quality of life or protecting natural areas should know that unless they also act on climate, they are likely to waste their efforts."

"In India, we see daily the power of sustainable energy to improve the quality of life of the poor while also reducing global warming," said Dr. Hande. "There is so much scope for an accelerated program of investment and funding by foundations to move the dial further on these issues, leading by example. Together we could well trigger a tipping point in social change for the good, just in the nick of time!"

The EEF's Divest-Invest initiative has already seen some successes since launching in January. It's had commitments for 17 organizations to move nearly $2 billion from fossil fuels to clean energy investments.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Divestment Goes Mainstream as Major Funds Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit

New IPCC Report: Fossil Fuel Divestment Must Start Now

Global Energy Markets Reach Tipping Point Giving Renewables an Edge

Sponsored
Prince William and British naturalist David Attenborough attend converse during the World Economic Forum annual meeting, on January 22 in Davos, Switzerland. Fabrice Cofferini /AFP / Getty Images

Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.

During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.

Read More Show Less
EV charging lot in Anaheim, California. dj venus / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Electric vehicle sales took off in 2018, with a record two million units sold around the world, according to a new Deloitte analysis.

What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Teenager Alex Weber and friends collected nearly 40,000 golf balls hit into the ocean from a handful of California golf courses. Alex Weber / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Savoca

Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.

As a scientist researching marine plastic pollution, I thought I had seen a lot. Then, early in 2017, I heard from Alex Weber, a junior at Carmel High School in California.

Read More Show Less
Southwest Greenland had the most consistent ice loss from 2003 to 2012. Eqalugaarsuit, Ostgronland, Greenland on Aug. 1, 2018. Rob Oo / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"

Read More Show Less
Seismic tests are a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas. BSEE

Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.

The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.

Read More Show Less
Brazil, Pantanal, water lilies. Nat Photos / DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus

Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.

Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators participate in a protest march over agricultural policy on Jan. 19 in Berlin, Germany. Carsten Koall / Getty Images Europe

By Andrea Germanos

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.

Read More Show Less
MarioGuti / iStock / Getty Images

By Patrick Rogers

If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Read More Show Less