In press conferences in New York and London today it was announced that funds valued at over US$5 trillion have now divested from fossil fuels. Global commitments to divest have reached 688 institutions across 76 countries, representing $5 trillion in assets (1).
At the press event actor Mark Ruffalo spoke about his foundation's decision to divest, following in the footsteps of actor Leonardo DiCaprio's similar move in 2015 (2).
The announcement was made exactly one year after major protests in Paris marked the end of crucial United Nations climate change talks. The UN meeting agreed it would seek to limit global warming to safe levels, but did not agree a credible plan to end fossil fuel use.
The fossil fuel divestment movement is growing fast in Scotland. Two churches and five universities in Scotland have now made commitments. In the last month Abertay University and the University of the West of Scotland announced that they would divest. (3)
Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland Divestment Campaigner said:
"A safe, healthy future will be one without fossil fuels. More and more organisations and investors are recognising that they need to invest in this future, and stop profiting from pollution.
"It's hugely encouraging to see that across the world so much money is flowing away from irresponsible investments in fossil fuels and into low-carbon solutions like renewable energy.
"In Scotland organisations like the Church of Scotland and University of Glasgow have begun divesting from fossil fuels, representing hundreds of millions of pounds now invested fossil-free.
There is growing pressure on Scotland’s Local Government Pension Funds, which were revealed to hold £1.7Billion in fossil fuels, to act to safeguard our future. (4)
"Other investors, like our local councils, will be left behind if they don't make the choice to invest responsibly."
May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director said:
“As we enter the final weeks of 2016, the hottest year in history, the success of the divestment movement is undeniable, in the face of intensifying climate impacts, and regressive and anti-climate governments like the Trump administration, it’s more critical than ever that our institutions — especially at the local level — step up to break free from fossil fuel companies.”
Notes to Editors
1. Details in the full report can be found here:
2.Leonardo DiCaprio joins fossil fuel divestment movement as it reaches $2.6 trillion mark (Sep 2015) http://mashable.com/2015/09/22/leo-dicaprio-fossil-fuel-divestment/#5it8dcYsbqqY
3. A third of Scottish Universities divest as Abertay and UWS join the party http://www.blog.foe-scotland.org.uk/index.php/2016/11/a-third-of-scottish-universities-divest-as-abertay-and-uws-join-the-party/
4. Vast fossil fuel investments of Scottish local government pensions revealed (Sep 2015) http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/lgps-fossil-fuel-investments
5. Reinvest Scotland is a new campaign composed of Unison Scotland, Common Weal and Friends of the Earth Scotland. They are calling for Scotland's councils to “divest their pension funds from fossil fuels and reinvest in social housing and renewable energy.” http://reinvest.scot/join/
6. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.