Harvard University “Pausing” Investments For Some Fossil Fuels

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After several years of growing pressure from students, faculty, alumni, and outside proponents of fossil fuel divestment, Harvard University is set to pause investments in some fossil fuels.

Speaking at a Climate Week event, Colin Butterfield, Harvard Management Company’s (HMC) Managing Director of the Committee of Natural Resources, said that they will be “pausing” direct investments in oil, gas, and coal.

“What I can tell you is, from my area, I could honestly say that I doubt — I can’t say never, because never say never — but I doubt that we would ever make a direct investment with fossil fuels,” he said. “But that’s more of an Investment Committee decision, and I cannot talk on their behalf.”

“We’re heartened to hear Butterfield acknowledge the gross injustice of climate change,” said Isa Flores-Jones ‘19, Divest Harvard Coordinator. “Oil, coal, and natural gas are no longer economically, or morally, viable options.”

It’s been a long road for Harvard divestment proponents, with numerous campaigns and recent blockades all designed to pressure the University’s decision making. The Harvard Crimson provides a comprehensive rundown of the campaigns and the incremental moves made by Harvard administrators.

There will be more to come, as the decision is not binding or long-term, and Harvard divestment campaigners will continue to push the University to make hard-line commitments to completely and permanently divest from fossil fuel investments. But the tide is turning in their favor, and a growing consensus about the harmful nature of fossil fuel investment continues to sway more and more people.

“I clearly feel that we are stealing from the future generations,” said Butterfield. “When you go out there and invest in natural resources, and you start looking at what’s happening in the world of natural resources, it’s pretty scary — we need to have more of these conversations.”


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Joshua S Hill

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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