Students protest University's continued investment in fossil fuels
Melbourne University urged to come out in front of competitors
MELBOURNE, February 12th, 2015 -- Students from Melbourne University gathered on Swanston Street this morning to protest the University’s continued investment in fossil fuels. After the protest, students rigged a banner to the University Administration Building with the slogan “The race to divest is on, UniMelb is losing”.
This comes in the wake of the University of Sydney’s announcement on Monday that it would be reducing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by 20% over 3 years. The announcement comes just months after the decision made late last year by the Australian National University to dump $16 million worth of mining stocks.
The divestment movement has gained considerable traction overseas, particularly in the US where prominent universities such as Stanford and high profile players such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. More locally, announcements made by ANU and the University of Sydney, while not representing full divestment from fossil fuels, have been positive first steps.
In contrast, the University of Melbourne has done nothing to reduce the carbon intensity of its portfolio. In a statement released in March last year, Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis indicated that the University would not be divesting from fossil fuels. More recently, the University Council asked their Investment Management Committee to review this decision. Nevertheless, no solid commitments have been made.
“To have even a small chance of stopping the worst impacts of climate change, we need to keep 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Without strong government action, we need our public institutions to take the lead on ensuring fossil fuel companies cannot exploit these reserves” said Fossil Free Melbourne University’s spokesperson, Vicky Fysh.
“If Melbourne was to do the right thing now and divest fully from fossil fuels, it would come out in front of its main competitors, ANU and Sydney Uni. As it stands, it is lagging behind” continued Miss Fysh.
“We are urging the Investment Management Committee to recommend full divestment to the Council after they do their review. They will have the whole University community behind them if they do” said Miss Fysh.
Georgia van der Horst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0404 362 272
Vicky Fysh, email@example.com, 0401 087 085
For more information: fossilfreemu.org