David Newall, Secretary of the University of Glasgow Court said: "The University recognizes the devastating impact that climate change may have on our planet, and the need for the world to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Over the coming years we will steadily reduce our investment in the fossil fuel extraction industry, while also taking steps to reduce our carbon consumption."
It follows in the footsteps of a host of prestigious universities, cities, religious institutions, pension funds and charitable foundations choosing to move their money away from dirty energy. And Glasgow is just the start. During the summer the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) become the first UK university to take any action; freezing new investments in the fossil fuel industry.
SOAS is expected to make a decision on divestment in the next month. Decisions are also imminent from a hand full of other institutions including the University of Edinburgh, who conducted a university wide student and staff consultation in which respondents overwhelmingly supported divestment.
Oxford University and it’s colleges, with investments of £3.8 billion, have the largest endowment wealth of any UK higher education institution. The university is currently conducting a staff only consultation on divestment, after almost 2,000 Oxford students and academics joined a campaign calling for divestment from the fossil fuel industry.
Divesting from fossil fuels is an astute move. The institutions choosing to move away from these dirty energies are heeding the warnings from the world’s leading scientists and financial experts that large swathes of known fossil fuels must stay in the ground to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and that continued investments in such fuels poses a significant risk to profits.
The divestment movement is picking up pace and represents the growing chorus of voices calling for strong climate action. Since the beginning of the year, the global fossil fuel divestment movement has doubled in size, and what started with a few US universities has grown into institutions with a combined asset size of more than US $50 billion pledging to ditch their holdings in fossil fuels.
The campaign is at the forefront of a burgeoning movement of people around the world who are taking to the streets to challenge institutions and governments and demanding strong climate action.