Climate advocates say Harvard oil transfer error is wrong

E.Climate advocates honor Harvard University’s pledge to approve a multi-billion-dollar investment fund for fossil fuels, while others wonder if the oil industry is the real winner in the fight against climate change.

Harvard campaigned in the 1980s under pressure from students and activists to separate from apartheid South Africa. The group described the fossil fuel-turned Harvard decision as “a huge victory” and “activism, clear and simple.”

That victory was widely praised in the local movement, Including former Vice President Al Gore.

But other major oil industry investors, determined to tackle the climate crisis, see the loss as a mistake. He says it eliminates more space than fossil fuels.

“If big investors leave their assets, we will lose the ownership base that can drive change,” said Anne Simpson, California’s Public Employees Retirement Strategy for $ 400 Billion. If we sell our shares in oil and gas companies, we are losing the opportunity to influence them.

Differences in strategies are in stark contrast to the futures of oil and gas companies. Harvard activists, along with national environmental groups such as, want fossil fuels to leave their businesses as soon as possible.

Simpson and other institutional investors believe that the oil and gas industry will remain important to the US economy for some time and will probably contribute to the transition to green energy, so it is even more important to force the trade to change.

Morgan Whitton, a environmental science and public policy student at Harvard, was one of the organizers of the disappearance campaign.

“There is currently no evidence that fossil fuels can change. If participation is an effective strategy, why not work yet? She said. “There are many studies showing that no major fossil fuel company is in compliance with the Paris climate agreement. Investors like Harvard have been at the table for decades, and companies have not changed course.

Calpers, a pension and health program for 2 million people in California, is trying new approaches to transform domestic oil and gas companies. In May, activist Investor Fund was instrumental in helping Engineer 1 bring three new directors to the Exxon Mobile Board.

Calpers also brought together hundreds of big investors to help identify the worst pollution in their portfolios. Of the nearly 10,000 companies, about 100 percent are responsible for 85% of greenhouse gas emissions, from oil and gas to steel, shipbuilding and cement manufacturers.

The investors set up a group called Climate Action 100+ to make a difference on those companies. The group focused on the elected members of the board of directors and decided to take responsibility for tackling pollution rather than leaving it to administrators.

Climate Action 100+ of the worst carbon producers have asked to work for certain measures – half agreed – and each company has been pressured to fully discharge carbon emissions. Climate action 100+ support from a few dozen institutional investors to more than 600 in 55 t.

Statue of John Harvard on Harvard Campus
Harvard University announced last week that it has recovered fossil fuels. Photo: Shutterstock

“If we can cooperate with other investors who are vulnerable to these companies, we will not only ask but also start asking companies to do these things,” he said. We cannot do this if we sell our shares to honor the transfer mission.

According to Simpson, among other changes, the group has promised to reduce emissions from Chevron and BP. In the years that followed, even Exxon, determined to increase its oil production, was forced to disclose carbon emissions due to fears of a shareholder vote.

You have to be in it to overcome it. Reducing the risk of climate change is a business venture to reduce these, ”said Simpson.

Bill McKibben, founder of, says that all of this is too small, too late, and he is pulling his heels and covering the fossil fuels to make it look like he is taking the crisis seriously. He said the participation of shareholders could be effective in getting a company to pay more employees or adjust its business model – but that was not the case in the oil and gas industry.

“The problem with fossil fuels is that there are no flaws in a good business plan. The business plan is that these are basically companies that live for the same purpose, which is digging and burning things. They know how to do it. ” Over the past three decades, as companies and politicians, they have done their best to maintain that business model, even when their record is broken.

According to McKibben, it has put pressure on fossil fuels rather than giving up energy.

“The transfer of crude oil is a material threat to the business,” he said.

CalPers stopped investing in coal because it was difficult to see any future for coal companies under pressure from the California state government. Simpson argues that oil and gas producers are different because, whether we like it or not, they will remain essential fuels for years to come.

Some institutional investors fear that if there is insufficient green energy sources for large industries, such as steel, rushing to kill oil and gas hazards will cause the economy to collapse, knocking down other manufacturers such as car manufacturers.

They want to see fossil fuels invest without solving the problem. McKibben, like the others, is skeptical of the fact that Existon and Chevron will do the same.

Whitton sees another benefit of extinction – stigma.

“He clearly shows who he is. For decades, companies have been trying to shape the narrative of climate change and make individuals feel responsible and fossil fuels to become real players in this fight. But they are not. ”

“They were ruining science. Exxon was attacking scholars, including Harvard. Therefore, when it is clear who is causing the damage, we think it should have a financial impact on them.

This story has been published as part of a coverage climate for international media coverage that strengthens the coverage of the climate story

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