Victoria University of Wellington has decided it will divest all its investments in fossil fuel. It says it never held significant direct investments in the fossil fuel industry. However, following the findings of its own research, and that of the international scientific community it wants to take a leadership role in reducing climate change.
“This research strongly suggests that unless the world reduces its reliance on fossil fuels, climate change and ocean acidification will have severe impacts on life on land and in our oceans,” said vice-chancellor Grant Guilford.
“Other factors taken into account were the business continuity risks from sea level rises to Victoria’s low lying Pipitea Campus, and the investment risks of ‘stranded assets’ in the fossil fuels sector.”
“It is important… that the University aligns its investment decisions with the results of its scientific research and its public stance on climate change while it continues to work on actively reducing its own carbon footprint.”
The university’s announcement came on the same day as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report saying greenhouse-gas levels are at their highest point in 800,000 years and recent increases are mostly due to the burning of fossil fuels.
Victoria is the first university in New Zealand to take this step, but joins a number of international universities, including ANU, Stanford and Glasgow, in withdrawing from investment in fossil fuel or coal companies.
The climate change campaign group 350 Aotearoa called the decision a major milestone and is now pushing for New Zealand’s other universities to follow Victoria’s lead.
Thanks to Generation Zero for the image