Burning fossil fuels is causing dangerous climate change. Heat waves, drought and flooding are on the rise and will lead to widespread hunger and conflict. Scientists agree that, in order to limit the damage, we need to turn quickly to other sources of energy and leave most remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Yet the fossil fuel industry lumbers defiantly on, doing what it was built to do: extract and sell as much oil, gas and coal as possible. Our government is unwilling to rein it in, and instead subsidises it to the tune of $34 billion dollars a year in Canada alone!
This is madness. It must change, and it will. Most Canadians realise that climate change is a problem and want our government to be help solve it (see poll). But vested interests and momentum stand in our way. What can we do?
One thing we can do is stop funding the destruction. Our pension funds, our banks, our universities, our companies, are all investing in the fossil fuel industry, helping it extract more oil, gas and coal. Let’s tell them to stop! Divesting from fossil fuels is a vote for sanity. The ethical case is clear.
The financial case is also clear. Since governments must move soon to limit carbon pollution, a large fraction of fossil fuel reserves will be become unusable or uneconomical, i.e. stranded assets. A chorus of recent high-profile reports have concluded that we’re in a carbon bubble, and fossil fuel stocks are overvalued. The Oil Age is almost over. As that understanding spreads, the bubble will burst, taking with it large chunks of our investments and pensions. Unless we divest first!
- Extracting Fossil Fuels from Your Portfolio: An Updated Guide to Personal Divestment and Reinvestment, Green Century, Trillium Asset Management and 350.org (2015)
- Stranded Assets: What Next? HSBC Global Research (2015)
- Emerging Research on Climate Change Research and Fossil Fuel Divestment, Veris Wealth Partners (2014)
- Fossil Fuel Divestment: A $5 Trillion Challenge, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2014)
- Green America’s Guide to Fossil Fuel Divestment, Green America (2014)
- The Fossil Fuel Divestment Discussion, Cambridge Associates (2014)
- The Risks and Returns of Fossil Fuel Free Investing, Sustainable Insight Capital Management (2014)
- Beyond Fossil Fuels: The Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment, Impax Asset Management (2013)
- Institutional Pathways to Fossil Free Investing, Tellus Institute (2013)
- Portfolio Carbon: Measuring, Disclosing and Managing the Carbon Intensity of Investments and Investment Portfolios, UNEP – Finance Initiative (2013)
- Resilient Portfolios and Fossil Free Pensions, HIP Investor (2013)
- Stranded Assets and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign: What does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets? Oxford University, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (2013)
- To Paraphrase Mark Twain: The Cost of Fossil Fuel Divestment has been Greatly Exaggerated, NorthStar Asset Management (2013)
- Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Standed Assets, Carbon Tracker Initiative (2013)
- Unburnable Carbon: Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble? Carbon Tracker Initiative (2011)