Harvard moves to extract his gift from fossil fuels | News | Harvard Crimson

Updated – September 9, 11:03 pm

Following years of public pressure, Harvard said Thursday that the remaining investments in the fossil fuels industry could be delayed, paving the way for the end of the sector. The move is the culmination of decades of conflict between student activists and university administrators who have dominated campus politics for years.

In an email to Harvard partners on Thursday afternoon, University President Lawrence S. Baco-publicly denounced the transfer for several years: he stopped using the word “perverted”, but “inherited investments” by third-party companies, and financial vulnerability to the fossil fuel industry. He is rude.

A.D. Since its inception in 2012, Harvard has declared victory over the disappearance of fossil fuels, which has been pushing the university to attract investment in the fossil fuels industry.

“As long as Harvard follows, this is breathing,” he said. This is what they told us for ten years that they could not do, and today students, teachers and graduates have been confirmed.

Bako wrote that Harvard Management Company, which manages the university’s $ 41.9 billion grant, is not “making future investments in the fossil fuels industry.” He said the university will not renew HMSC’s partnership with private equity funds in the sector.

“Given the need to cut back on the economy and our responsibility to make long-term investment decisions that support our teaching, learning and research mission, we do not believe such investments are sensible,” Bako said.

Fossil fuels are less than 2 percent of the university’s contribution – but they do not go away overnight.

According to a footnote in Baku’s letter, Harvard has a legal obligation to provide financial support “up to the maximum amount invested at the time of the investment,” which means that the donation goes to private companies investing in fossil fuels. For years to come.

Bako did not give the liquid schedule.

The transition debate has engulfed the campus in recent years, with supporters of the movement making legal complaints, invading the Harvard-Yale football stadium in 2019, staging protests on campus, and gaining seats on school boards.

Harvard administrators have better advocated for climate change through school, research, and campus sustainability efforts. Before Thursday, HMC did not explicitly decide to withdraw donations from fossil fuels.

HMC said in February that it does not invest directly in the fossil fuels industry, and its indirect investments in the sector are less than 2 percent. A.D. By the end of the fiscal year 2020, endowment direct and indirect exposure to the fossil fuel industry has decreased by more than 80 percent since 2008.

HMC has already pledged to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

HMC wrote in its February 2021 climate report that it plans to spend the next few years obtaining carbon emissions information from all public and private market managers who have not provided this information on their portfolio since history.

In a letter Thursday, Bako also outlined the university’s efforts to promote climate change research, and this week appointed James H. Stoke, an economics professor, as its first vice president for climate and sustainability.

On the campus, the university In 2026, it decided to achieve fossil fuels neutrality in the operation and to use fossil fuels for heating, cooling, and energy by 2050. . According to the Office of Sustainability, campus greenhouse gas emissions disappeared between 2016 and 2019. The university also met the 2020 waste and water reduction goals.

Climate campaign team 350.org founder and former president of the Crimea, William E. “Bill” McKibben, said in an email that the Harvard’s “stubbornness” for years would not go unnoticed by the university.

“I really thought Harvard would never sink,” he wrote. In the end, this is a great honor for the hopeless generations of Harvard students, and for the teachers and graduates who supported them.

—Secretary Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at jasper.goodman@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Gudman.

—Staff author Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at kelsey.griffin@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.

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