WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Top Reasons Why Shrewsbury Should Divest Fossil Fuel Investments From Its Pension Funds
The 2°C target has been adopted by the countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
That temperature is a target above which scientists believe the most dangerous effects of climate change would begin to occur.
Humanity’s remaining Carbon Budget will be exceeded in three decades
The Carbon Budget is the estimated amount of carbon dioxide the world can emit while still having a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations endorsed world body for assessing the science related to climate change, and it estimates this budget to be 1 trillion tonnes of carbon (1,000 PgC).
Spending the first half of the Carbon Budget has come at a cost.
Significant extreme weather and climate events are already being experienced, providing glimpses of what will become more common in a warmer world. For example, global sea level rise has accelerated, forest fires are on the rise, heavy precipitation events have increased, and longer, more intense droughts are occurring.
Global emissions must peak by 2020 and then steadily decline.
To best ensure we are able to limit warming to 2°C, it is essential that annual global emissions peak by the year 2020, and are reduced steeply thereafter to approximately 50% of 2020 emission by the year 2040 and continue to decline steeply to reach zero net greenhouse gas emissions before the end of the century.
The Carbon Bubble is the financial overvaluation of proven carbon reserves that are classified as ‘unburnable’
Carbon dioxide emissions associated with coal, oil, and gas reserves in the ground are 1,053 PgC. Roughly three-quarters of these fuels must remain stranded in the ground in order to stay within the carbon budget. With fossil fuel companies being among the largest in the world, sharp losses in their value could prompt a new economic crisis.
Annual Town Meeting (May 2015)
- Citizen’s Petition to divest investments from top 200 fossil fuel companies (DEFEATED 32-140 / 19%-81%)
It is not an INVESTMENT if it is DESTROYING the planet.
– Vandana Shiva
“It makes no sense to pay for your retirement by investing in companies that guarantee you won’t have a planet worth retiring on!”
– Bill McKibben, Author, Educator, Environmentalist
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DIVESTMENT IN THE NEWS
In a statement Monday, the Massachusetts Teachers Association said it was supporting a measure proposed by state Representative Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat, that would require the $65 billion state pension fund to divest of coal companies. The bill (H.3281) also would create a commission to evaluate divestment from oil and gas companies.
UMASS DIVESTMENT IN THE NEWS
Many current upperclassmen at the University of Massachusetts are likely to remember the headline-grabbing process that was Divest UMass, the student-led campaign that ultimately pushed the University to commit to divesting its endowment from holdings in fossil fuels.
Since the University announced in May 2016 that it would, in fact, end its investments in fossil fuel companies, Divest has remained on campus as a notable success story in the world of student activism.
“UMass boastfully declared itself the first major public university to divest from direct holdings in fossil fuels,” junior economics major Benji Bonnet said, “But without follow-through, it’s really just cheap self-aggrandizement.”
“We do recognize that divestment can’t happen overnight, but so far we haven’t received any sort of specific plans they’ve put in place to actually enact [fossil fuel divestment],” Bonnet said.
However bleak this outlook may seem, there is hope. Students are once again presenting our leaders with an opportunity. UMass has a choice: to remain in the pockets of an unethical industry or to act courageously to uphold the University’s mission to “improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.”
This spring, the UMass community will be looking to our leaders, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Victor Woolridge and President Marty Meehan, to prove that our institution is acting on behalf of the public and is not beholden to private interests by divesting immediately from all fossil fuels. Woolridge and Meehan must side with students, the community and climate justice, and take bold leadership on climate change. It is time for our administration to lead with us.