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New research revealed this week has shown that over a quarter of all universities in the UK have committed to fossil fuel divestment, and are leading the way globally.

Fossil Fuels

Over A Quarter Of UK Universities Have Committed To Fossil Fuel Divestment

New research revealed this week has shown that over a quarter of all universities in the UK have committed to fossil fuel divestment, and are leading the way globally.

New research revealed this week has shown that over a quarter of all universities in the UK have committed to fossil fuel divestment, and are leading the way globally.

According to student-led campaign group People & Planet, 16 UK universities have recently committed to divest from fossil fuel investments, eleven of which have committed to full fossil fuel divestment. These 16 institutions join 27 other UK universities which had already committed to divesting from coal and tar-sands investments, or all fossil fuel investments, resulting in over a quarter of all universities across the UK committing to some form of fossil fuel divestment.

The UK is home to the first European university to divest, when the University of Glasgow agreed to divest its fossil fuel holdings back in October of 2014. In the time since, the UK has become the world’s leader in terms of academic institution fossil fuel divestment, ahead of other European countries, the US, and Australia. Big-name, world-leading universities such as University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, Kings College London, the University of Edinburgh and London School of Economics have all announced various forms of divestment, thanks in part to student-led campaigns.

“UK universities have been world leaders on cutting-edge research into climate solutions,” said Amoge Ukaegbu, Campaigns and Movement Building Co-ordinator, People & Planet.

“They have a particular responsibility in shaping our future society’s sustainability, so it’s not surprising that they have realised that to safeguard civilisation, they must turn their backs on the morally and financially bankrupt industry. By severing their ties with fossil fuel companies, universities are standing in solidarity with the communities across the world that are on the frontline of fossil fuel extraction and climate change.

“The Fossil Free movement has grown exponentially with students and universities at its core, pioneering a new way for public institutions to be truly independent of the fossil fuel economy and in doing so, trailblazing a path for wider society to follow.”

The divestment figures come as part of People & Planet’s University League table, which audits and scores 150 of the UK’s publicly-funded universities on their policy and action for environmental and social justice. The results, though encouraging for the number of universities committing to fossil fuel divestment, also show a 4-year downward trend in carbon emission reduction across the higher education sector, with only 24% of universities in the UK currently looking like they will meet the sector carbon reduction targets of 43% by 2020.

“UK universities are now world leaders in divestment,” explained Andrew Taylor, Co-Director Campaigns and Communications Manager.

“We have an advantage over our friends in the USA as the British public hasn’t been targeted to the same extent by big-oil-funded climate denial. We don’t have Trump for President but we still have our own less blatant problems with economic arguments delaying the urgent action needed, and a revolving door between government and the fossil fuel sector. The effects of this are highlighted in our University League research where we see a funding gap leading to under-performance on campus carbon.”

The full interactive League table can be viewed here.

 
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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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