I’ve been in a relationship with the fossil fuel industry my whole life. Now that I understand the math of climate change, I know it’s time to break up! In the spirit of our Love Letter Contest, I have used Go Fossil Free’s Top 10 Reasons to Divest as an inspiration for this more personal and heartfelt list of reasons to break up. (For eleven more reasons to Divest read this article by Chuck Collins.) The Go Fossil Free list is in Black. My list of reasons for breaking up is below in red:
1. If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, than it’s also wrong to profit from that wreckage.
I hate that you are profiting financially from the destruction of the earth!
2. We shouldn’t be investing in companies that are spending millions of dollars lobbying against clean energy solutions and millions more funding climate denial and anti-science think tanks.
I thought we had a solution, a clean way forward, but you have lied to me and mislead me and paid others to back up your story!
3. The fossil fuel industry’s business plan is to burn five times more carbon dioxide than scientists say we can safely emit and still keep global warming below the 2°C tipping point.
If I stay in this relationship any longer it will be the end of me… I have seen your plans, and you won’t stop until you’ve burned through everything. By then there will be nothing left of me.
4. Companies like Chevron, Exxon, and Peabody Coal are polluting our land, air, and water, putting our communities and children at risk.
My children matter more to me more than my own life; it’s clear that you’ve never cared about my kids, if you cared at all you wouldn’t be prepared to put them at risk because there’s easy money to be made.
5. Big Oil likes to say that it’s greening its operations, but that’s just PR: no major oil company is investing a significant part of its profits into renewable energy research.
You say you care, but it’s clear from your actions that you don’t. You have never invested in our future, it’s always all about you, what’s best for fossil fuels, not what’s best me, or for us.
6. Divestment can have a major political impact by taking away the social license of the fossil fuel industry, turning Big Oil into Big Tobacco, an industry that no politician wants to be seen with.
You have mislead me, lied to me, and I can’t trust you with my future. Your despicable behaviour is wrecking my home, and putting my children at risk. Others see this too. Soon even your old friends who have until now enjoyed your lavish gifts and attention won’t want to know you.
7. Divestment campaigns have made a big impact before, including in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
I’m inspired by people who have gotten out of bad relationships in the past and used the break-up to help to create a brighter future for others.
8. Divestment doesn’t pose a serious financial risk to a portfolio and opens the door for more sustainable investments that not only get a good return but also help our communities and the planet.
I’m better off without you! I’ve found someone else with a bright financial future, someone who is good for me and for my family. Someone I can create a future with, someone who will never leave me, who just keeps giving, someone I can trust and count on to do the right thing, it’s a relationship I can be proud of.
9. Investing in the fossil fuel industry is increasingly risky: financial analysts are now warning us about a “carbon bubble” that could result when government’s decide to regulate greenhouse gas emission and fossil fuel companies are forced to leave their coal, oil and gas reserves underground, tanking their share price.
I’ve looked at your financial prospects, and they aren’t good. It’s been a good ride, but I can’t be with you when the bubble bursts. I don’t want to lose everything because you refuse to change and I’m going to need a lot of money to clean up the mess you’ve made!
10. There’s a growing fossil fuel divestment movement that can amplify all of our individual actions: over 300 campuses and 100 cities and states have joined the campaign — and we’re just getting warmed up.
You’ve had every opportunity to change, to make something better of yourself, but it’s clear that you’re not capable of changing; you are only in it for the money. Breaking up won’t be easy; I’ve been dependent on you for too long, we all have. I’ve made a lot of new friends lately, and they all want to break up with you too… and together we will be strong enough to change the system and break free…. fossil free.