Global Divestment Movement Celebrates Milestone: 1,000 Institutions With Nearly $8 Trillion in Assets Have Vowed to Ditch Fossil Fuels
By Jake Johnson
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.
Celebrate 1000 divestment commitments and counting! youtu.be
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."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.