Indigenous delegates said they had been amazed at the “wilful ignorance” they encountered when demanding global banks cease financing new fossil fuel projects on their ancestral lands in what is today North America.
Left to its own volition, the financial sector will continue to be complicit in environmental degradation unless stringent mechanisms are put in place to ensure that it complies with net-zero obligations and divests from fossil fuels.
As much as Premier Kenney and other oil and gas boosters wish to promote Canada as the happy alternative to the Russian petrostate, Canadian financial institutions and our oil and gas services have already been tied to Russian interests.
Investors, foundations, universities and governments pulled their assets from fossil fuel companies in record numbers in October.
Central banks are continuing to help channel trillions of dollars into fossil fuels through policy decisions and direct financing, with overall sums rising in recent years, a new report has found.
We are disappointed that our university, an influential institution with a moral obligation to lead by example, is so deeply involved in this industry and hope our report will act as a wake-up call, setting an agenda for change.
Now, the warnings about stranded assets are converging with calls for companies and investors to apply ESG filters to their activities, and investors are demanding divestment from carbon-heavy assets.
In 2012, hardly anyone had heard of fossil fuel divestment. Today, more than a thousand institutions with more than $14 trillion between them have divested in one form or another. The impossible became conceivable, then inevitable. Change can and does happen, with sustained effort.
This new handbook is an indispensable guide to climate activists and policy-makers alike towards a complete overhaul of the financial system to stop climate chaos.
The University of California’s investment strategy takes stakeholder views into account – such as student protesters at Berkeley, above, in 2014 – but its divestment program is primarily based on the belief that fossil fuel investments present a financial risk.
The priority now has to be actively to support all divest/invest initiatives (in the arts, in our universities, in the financial services sector etc), and to ensure that our own pensions are invested accordingly. In a Climate Emergency, nothing else will suffice.
The way forward is to channel popular support for action on climate change into an organised movement. The power of that movement—marshalled to support a left government—is our best shot at doing something meaningful while we still can.