STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO RECENT INVESTMENT COMMITTEE ANNOUNCEMENT
Yesterday, after nearly 100 students delivered over 800 student signatures calling for divestment, the Board of Managers announced that our Investments Committee “acted to include our investment managers in the ongoing conversation” about the College’s climate initiatives: “the investment managers of our endowment have been asked to detail their methods of evaluating direct costs of climate change…and related [carbon] regulatory policies on future returns.”
We know that the climate crisis and climate regulations significantly threaten the viability of fossil fuel investments. If our Investments Committee begins to evaluate these threats, this can only lead to fossil fuel divestment.
The financial risk posed by unburnable carbon is clear. If we take the necessary action to avoid catastrophic climate impacts and leave 60% – 80% of current carbon reserves in the ground, roughly $20 trillion in assets will be stranded. Fossil fuel companies could be devalued by 40% to 60%, the investment bank HSBC estimates. U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey warned that fossil fuel stocks could be the “sub-prime assets of the future.” And UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres ‘79 notes that either “we will move to a low-carbon world because nature will force us, or because policy will guide us,” and that continued investment in fossil fuels despite this threat constitutes a “blatant breach of fiduciary duty.”
We applaud our Investments Committee for beginning the process of evaluating the effects of climate change and climate regulation on our endowment’s financial health. But the answer is clear: a growing chorus of political and financial leaders have sounded the alarm, warning of the significant financial risk posed by the carbon bubble.
The Board’s fiduciary duties obligate them to take action to protect action to protect the endowment from the risks posed by the carbon bubble. We look forward to working with the Board and our College’s financial advisors to create a plan for fossil fuel divestment.
Thank you all for marching with us yesterday and calling on the Board to what is right. We’ve reached this milestone because of your commitment and support. Onward.