Skip to main content

CARBON DIVESTMENT: TOWARD A JUST & SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE: Home

A quick how-to promoting carbon divestment and a lifestyle promoting sustainability. #carbondivestment

WHAT IS FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT?

"If it's wrong to wreck the climate then it's wrong to profit from that wreckage." -- Bill McKibben

WHAT IS FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT ? -- from The Guardian

...The global movement for fossil fuel divestment is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons. These institutions include universities, religious institutions, pension funds, local authorities and charitable foundations.

...[F]ossil fuel reserves are more than three times higher than we can afford to burn in order to stay below the generally agreed threshold for dangerous climate change. Fossil fuel companies are currently banking on extracting these reserves and selling them – and are actively prospecting for more. By supporting these companies, investors not only continue to fund unsustainable business models that are bound to make climate change worse, but they also risk their financial assets becoming worthless if international agreements on climate change are met.

                           

THREE SIMPLE NUMBERS

There are three really simple numbers which explain this (and if you have even more appetite for the subject, read the excellent July 2012 Rolling Stone piece by the author and campaigner Bill McKibben, which – building on the work of the Carbon Tracker Initiative – first spelled them out).

  1.   2C: There is overwhelming agreement – from governments, corporations, NGOs, banks, scientists, you name it – that a rise in temperatures of more than 2C by the end of the century would lead to disastrous consequences for any kind of recognised global order.
     
  2.   565 gigatons: “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by mid-century and still have some reasonable hope of staying below 2C,” is how McKibben crisply puts it. Few dispute that this idea of a global “carbon budget” is broadly right.
     
  3.   2,795 gigatons: This is the amount of carbon dioxide that if they were burned would be released from the proven reserves of fossil fuel – ie the fuel we are planning to extract and use.

You do not need much of a grasp of math to work out the implications. There are trillions of dollars worth of fossil fuels currently underground which, for our safety, simply cannot be extracted and burned. All else is up for debate: that much is not.

Robert Reich on Divestment

Subject Guide

Steve Kronen's picture
Steve Kronen
Contact:
305-237-8905 - Reference Desk

305-237-8931 - Circulation Desk
Website