Fossil Free UC
With eleven campuses and approximately 200,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the UC system is known as the premier public university system in the world. The UC Regents control policy for the institution’s investment portfolio of nearly $81 billion. In the tradition of successful divestment campaigns against the South African apartheid, Sudan, and tobacco, we are targeting the UC Regents and asking for divestment. Specifically, Fossil Free UC is asking the university to adopt a five-year plan to freeze new fossil fuel investments, implement a negative screen for the top 194 companies and roll out investment alternatives that address climate-risk and sustainability.
Fossil Free UC (FFUC) is a campaign made up of a coalition of students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the entire UC system, with additional support from partner organizations like the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) and 350.org. The campaign strives to: a) raise awareness on and off campus of the dangers of fossil fuels, b) pressure the UC Regents to vote for a full divestment of the General Endowment Pool, and c) to aid the administration in developing a reinvestment plan that is both adjusted for climate risk and socially responsible, thereby upholding the mission of the university.
The Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy
It is no secret that the leading contributor to climate change is the fossil fuel industry. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels, as they release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. This fact is well-known, and yet the fossil fuel industry permeates all aspects of modern first and second world countries’ lives. If we are to slow the rate of and mitigate the effects of climate change, a transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies must take place, and soon. Yet we cannot wait for the new generations to permeate government if we are to avoid surpassing 2 degrees of warming. So how do we transition away from fossil fuels, and how to we expedite that process?
The fossil fuel industry is possibly the most powerful industry in the world. Beyond the sheer wealth of the companies, they have a huge influence over politicians, especially in the United States. With their lobbying power, and their large donation gifts to campaigners, the companies are able to influence legislation that may or may not be passed. Has it not been ten years since we realized that a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy must take place? Indeed, it is the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry has on the government that prevents the necessary transition from taking place. In addition, the fossil fuel industry has further trapped the extent of the government to limit these industries’ effect on society by allowing them to pollute without paying for the consequences, either direct or indirect some meaningful change happen?
Fossil Free is an international movement which aims to remove the fossil fuel industry’s social license to operate. The movement calls on institutions to 1) STOP all new investments in the top 194 publicly traded fossil fuel companies, 2) DROP all remaining investments in those companies within five years, and 3) ROLL out reinvestment plans that are more beneficial to society. Fossil free does not intend to financially cripple the fossil fuel industry; indeed, when investments are dropped, they will most likely be picked up by other individuals, groups, or firms. Instead, what it does is cripple the industry’s reputation. By divesting, the world’s institutions are calling the fossil fuel industry out on their game and saying “enough.” Divestment allows for an open dialogue about the industry’s influence in our government, and questions how much power they have. With their bottom line uncovered–a bottom line devoted to exponential exploitation to maximize immediate profits–our world’s politicians, businessmen, citizens, and scientists may finally sit down at a table together and begin meaningful discussion on the issue.
STOP all new investments in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves;
DROP all remaining investments in fossil fuel companies over a 5-year period; and
ROLL out a reinvestment plan that considers adjusting for climate risk.
Learn about the campaign!
Find out more about the Fossil Free UC campaign here!