The University of Bristol Court has today passed a motion from Bristol Green Councillor Carla Denyer, calling on the university to withdraw funding from fossil fuel companies. At its AGM the 585 member strong advisory body has called for the Board of Trustees to take immediate action to ensure the university is ‘fossil free’ by 2021.
Speaking after the meeting, Green Councillor Carla Denyer who tabled the motion said:
“I am delighted by today’s decision which has followed a long campaign from students, staff, alumni and politicians. We have heard loud and clearly today that the university’s own advisory body recognises that investing in fossil fuel extraction, the major driver of climate change, is simply unacceptable.”
“A quarter of universities across the UK have now committed to divest. When we started this campaign we were asking the University to show leadership – now we are just asking them to keep up.”
Bristol’s Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, who co-signed the motion and spoke at today's meeting said:
“Today a clear message has been sent to the university’s trustees. We must divest from fossil fuels to protect the long term security of both our finances and our planet. Scientific evidence shows that 75% of fossil fuels needs to stay in the ground if we are to have any chance of staying with the two degree warming limit. But divesting from fossils fuels is no longer just the right thing to do for future generations, it is the right thing to do for hard-nosed economic reasons. Because fossil fuels cannot be burned the value of oil and gas companies have fallen rapidly in value. The Bank of England has set up a special expert body to explore the extent of these risks. Meanwhile the European Parliament recently passed a Green amendment so that these stranded assets must now be reported by pension funds.”
“Today Bristol University Court showed the university’s pioneering spirit to pass a motion that was both forward thinking and ultimately evidence based. I am proud to have been able to support the motion and Carla Denyer, a fantastic local councillor who has worked so hard to guide this motion through”.
Paloma Parkes, one of the students from the Fossil Free University of Bristol campaign, said:
"After the appointment by Donald Trump of a climate change denier to be in charge or the Environmental Protection Agency, the need for action on climate change is more urgent than ever. Campaigns need to redouble their efforts and universities need to invest their money in line with their principles and understanding of science.”