A blue-ribbon committee at the University of Toronto recommended immediate and targeted divestment of fossil fuel investments.
If the recommendation is approved, the end result would make the University of Toronto the largest Canadian university to commit to divesting from most fossil fuel companies.
The university President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels filed its report on Tuesday, following a March 6, 2014 petition presented to the University of Toronto Office of the President by the University of Toronto chapter of the larger 350.org campaign. The Committee’s mandate was to review the Petition and consider the University’s response and intentions.
The Committee subsequently recommended that “the social injury caused by fossil fuels companies whose actions blatantly disregard the 1.5-degree threshold is clear, egregious, and inordinate.”
“In summary, the Committee believes, and will argue in this report, that targeted and principled divestment from companies in the fossil fuels industry that meet certain criteria, as outlined below, should be an important part of the University of Toronto’s response to the challenges of climate change.”
Specifically, the Committee recommend determining “a method to evaluate whether a given fossil fuels company’s actions blatantly disregard the 1.5-degree threshold” recently seen as the new target in the Paris COP21 climate agreement. In particular, the Committee suggests that the University focus on “firms that derive more than 10% of their revenue from non-conventional or aggressive extraction,” “firms that knowingly disseminate disinformation concerning climate change science,” and “firms that derive more than 10% of their revenue from coal extraction for power generation.”
“These criteria particularly implicate companies involved in the tar sands, fracking, Arctic oil exploration, and disseminating misinformation,” Suhail Barot, a 3rd year Ph.D student in engineering commented. “The very business model of the fossil fuel industry contradicts limiting global warming to below 1.5℃. President Gertler should now divest from all fossil fuel companies.”
Image Credit: Nayu Kim, via Flickr
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