Why Divest?


Protest at the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington (2013.01.14). Image by Brylie Oxley

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!

Interested in making your divestment commitment public? Take the divestment pledge at Divestinvest.org.