Quantcast

Stanford Student Movement Inspires University's $18.7 Billion Divestment From Coal

If there's any investment that could potentially cause “substantial social injury," it's coal-fired energy.

A large-scale student campaign helped Stanford University's board of trustees realize as much, leading to this week's decision for the institution to divest its $18.7 billion endowment from coal stock. 

Stanford University's 43-year-old Statement on Investment Responsibility instructs the board of trustees to invest endowment assets to maximize potential returns, but it also allows trustees to factor in the possibility of those investments causing social injury.

"Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small but constructive step while work continues at Stanford and elsewhere to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future," John Hennessy, university president, said in a statement.

Fossil Free Stanford, a student-led organization, petitioned the university a year ago to divest from 200 fossil-fuel extraction companies. Stanford's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIRL), a panel of students, faculty, staff and alumni, reviewed the petition and ultimately made the recommendation to divest.

Democracy Now! spoke with student Michael Peñuelas, a faculty liaison for the group, about the campaign and the change he and his classmates inspired.

"Fossil Free Stanford catalyzed an important discussion, and the university has pursued a careful, research-based evaluation of the issues," said Steven A. Denning, chairman of the Stanford Board of Trustees. "We believe this action provides leadership on a critical matter facing our world and is an appropriate application of the university's investment responsibility policy."

Stanford's decision comes after several, similar campaigns and protests at universities around the country. Seven Washington University students were arrested last week for protesting Peabody Coal. One Harvard University student was arrested at a day of action event to encourage the college to divest from fossil fuels.

Video screenshot credit: Democracy Now!

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Stanford Professor on Letterman: Powering Entire World on Renewable Energy No Problem

Stanford University Scientists Produce Electricity From Sewage

Stanford Professor’s 50-State Plan For 100-Percent Renewable Energy

——– 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
The Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu speaks on Jan. 26 during a press briefing on studying the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and developing a vaccine to prevent it. Roman Balandin / TASS / Getty Images

Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.

Read More
Sponsored
Healthline ranks Samoas, seen above, as the 11th healthiest Girl Scout Cookie. brian / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Nancy Schimelpfening

  • Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
  • Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
  • Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
  • However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.

Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.

Read More
Actress Jane Fonda is arrested during the "Fire Drill Friday" Climate Change Protest on Oct. 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski / Getty Images

When you see an actor in handcuffs, they're usually filming a movie. But when Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Sally Field, and other celebrities were arrested in Washington, D.C., last fall, the only cameras rolling were from the news media.

Read More
A solitary Dungeness crab sits in the foreground, at low tide on an overcast day. The crabs' shells are dissolving because of ocean acidification on the West Coast. Claudia_Kuenkel / iStock / Getty Images

As the Pacific Ocean becomes more acidic, Dungeness crabs, which live in coastal areas, are seeing their shells eaten away, according to a new study commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read More