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."
Investors worth $8 trillion are turning their backs on immoral and dangerous fossil fuel industry. @gofossilfree m… https://t.co/s3xtarGRIs— 350 dot org (@350 dot org)1544714439.0
"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."
Carbon Bubble Is Bursting as #Divestment Takes Hold https://t.co/IwXdH5loeN @MarkRuffalo @LeoDiCaprio @billmckibben @350 @greenpeaceusa— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1487799398.0
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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