Students outraged by University climate collusion
28th MARCH 2014
Melbourne University students are outraged by revelations of collusion among Australia’s largest Universities to block public access to information on how they manage the climate change risks of their investments.
Lateline last night revealed that Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) universities had colluded in a botched plan to avoid scrutiny over their long term investment strategies, specifically regarding a plan for dealing with the financial risks of climate change and fossil fuels.
The information was inadvertently supplied by Monash University just hours after a request by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) for such disclosure from 300 universities, worldwide.
The AODP’s disclosure request comes as institutions in Australia and overseas face increasing pressure to limit dangerous climate change by divesting their shares in fossil fuel companies.
According to a University of Oxford Study, the fossil fuel divestment movement, led by 350.org, is growing faster than any previous divestment movement, with campaigns underway at over 400 universities worldwide.
“This is an incredibly disappointing move by Melbourne University. I have no doubt many members of the student and staff community will be feeling very let down by our University today” said Vicky Fysh, Fossil Free Melbourne University Campaign Coordinator.
“Whilst Melbourne University might debate the merits of fossil fuel divestment, being open and transparent about where they’re investing their money is a social obligation. It’s part and parcel of the transparency expected of publicly accountable institutions,” said Miss Fysh.
“Most current University students are of a generation which will feel the devastating impact of climate change in their lifetimes. This refusal to be transparent about their investments is a failure on the Go8’s behalf to show respect for their students’ future wellbeing.”
“It is absolutely hypocritical of Melbourne University to play such a leading role in the research and understanding of climate impacts and mitigation, yet to refuse to engage in this essential discussion about transitioning to the low-carbon economy of the future” Miss Fysh said.
Miss Fysh asserts that collusion on behalf of universities will only serve to galvanise the student movement in Australia, as has occurred with the campus divestment movement in the US.
View the full Lateline story here.
The 2014 Global Climate Investment Index can be accessed here.