Divesting from fossil-fuel interests and investing in clean-energy solutions strives to reduce climate change by exerting social, political, and economic pressure on individuals and institutions, such as banks, universities, and pubic retirement funds. We demand that these parties divest from assets, including stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments connected to companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.
Fossil-fuel divestment campaigns emerged on campuses in the U.S. in 2010, when students urged their administrations to turn endowment investments in the fossil fuel industry into investments in clean energy and in communities most affected by climate change.
By 2015, fossil-fuel divestment was reportedly the fastest growing divestment movement in history. By December 2019, a total of 1,200 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $12 trillion in assets worldwide had divested from fossil fuels.
Motivations for Divestment
Fossil-fuel divestment aims to stigmatize fossil-fuel companies and those that invest in them. Like many other climate-action organizations, 350 Central Mass is putting public pressure on local institutions that currently invest in fossil fuel extraction, including banks, insurance companies, and educational institutions, and to move those investments to companies building renewable energy infrastructure.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) found that the total of future carbon dioxide emissions must be less than 1,000 gigatons to provide a 66% chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. This figure includes all sources of carbon emissions. To avoid dangerous climate change, only 33% of extractable fossil fuel of known reserves can be used.
This carbon budget can also be depleted by an increase in other carbon-emission sources, such as deforestation and cement production. If other carbon emissions increase significantly, then only 10% of the fossil fuel reserves can be used to stay within projected safe limits.
Furthermore, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), earth's average temperature has risen by 0.78°C (1.4°F) over the past century and is predicted to rise another 1.1 to 6.4 C° (2.0 to 11.5°F) over the next 100 years at continued carbon emission rates. This rise in temperature would far surpass the level of warming that scientists have deemed safe to support life on earth. Some scientists say the rise may be far greater unless decisive action is taken immediately.
350 Central Mass is working diligently to convince local institutions to divest. Join us in this cause!