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We are a group of NYU students, faculty, staff, and alumni demanding that NYU live up to its stated values of sustainability and global community. We're calling on the NYU administration and the Board of Trustees to divest the university endowment from the fossil fuel industry, specifically from the top 200 publicly-traded coal, oil, and natural gas companies.

 

 

LATEST UPDATES

  • 4/22/17 Divest Protests Fossil Fuel Investments during Admitted Students Weekend with an Earth Piñata and Banner Drop!

  • 3/31/17 Three Divest Members Visit Board Chair William Berkley's midtown corporate office to deliver a letter and request a meeting.

The letter demanded a revote in light of Trustee conflicts of interests, with meeting minutes and     the recusal of Trustees with fossil fuel ties. 

  • 2/17/17 Divest Launches #OnBoardWithDivestment #TrusteeOfTheWeek by calling John Paulson. Click here to contact John!

  • 1/28/17 Divest Winter Retreat attracts new members and produces a strong semester strategy

  • 12/14/16 Divest delivers a letter and gift to President Andrew Hamilton

The letter inquires about the decision making process against divestment, calls on Hamilton to address the question of direct divestment which he has heretofore dodged, and calls for NYU to listen to the NYU community. It was accompanied by a copy of Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and an array of artisanal teas. 

  • 10/15/16 Over 70 attend demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline

The teach-in and protest was organized by NYU Divest and NAISG (Native American and Indigenous Student Group). They then marched to the Army Corps of Engineers office to join a massive citywide protest.

  • 9/30/16 Members of NYU Divest meet with Naomi Klein

Klein called for NYU to divest from fossil fuels at a lecture at the NYU School of Law. 

  • 9/12/16: NYU Divest Fall Nature Retreat attended by 18 members

Retreat including food rescuing, communal meals, meditation, debate, strategizing, and beach time!      Thank you to the faculty who contributed transportation and food funds. 

  • 6/16/16 Board of Trustees rejects fossil fuel Divestment

In a university-wide memorandum President Hamilton and Board Chair Berkley ignore university consensus and fail to the address the research and reasoning presented by Divest.

  • 5/17/16: NYU Divest Students and Alumni Meet before Board of Trustees Investment Committee

    On this historic and unprecedented occasion, NYU students and alumni met with members of the Board of Trustees on the case for divestment.

  • 5/16/16: NYU Faculty Write in Support of Occupation 

  • 3/1/16: NYU faculty deliver letter to the Office of the President of NYU in support of NYU Divest's occupation!

  • 4/18/16-4/19/16: NYU Divest Occupies for 33 Hours!

NYU Divest claims victory following a 33-hour elevator occupation, despite the threat of suspension!

  • 1/30/16-1/31/16: NYU Divest Spring Retreat

    Saturday and Sunday, Divest hosts their Spring 2016 Retreat! Interested?

  • 12/16/15: NYU Divest occupies Bobst, wins demands

      After months of delay tactics and broken promises, Divest wins its meeting with the Board!

      Click here to read the outcomes of the occupation and our expectations.

Click here to read more at Washington Square New

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Why divest from the Fossil Fuel Industry?

The impacts of climate change and fossil fuel extraction are likely the most pressing environmental and human rights issue facing this planet. Yet, for all the work that has been done on energy conservation and sustainability, governments have failed to pass comprehensive climate change policy to drastically limit carbon emissions.

At the root of this crisis is a powerful force: major corporations, particularly fossil fuel companies and their investors dedicated to preserving the status quo to generate short-term profits. They are perfectly willing to make money off their predicted reserves, even if it means breaching the 2º C limit on warming agreed on by the majority of countries. In order to limit and mitigate the consequences of climate change and resource extraction, and build a more sustainable and just world, it is imperative that we challenge the fossil fuel companies and the model of investing that allows corporate actors to halt progress.        

The Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign at colleges and universities aims to challenge this status quo by activating the millions of college students on campuses around the country. Collectively colleges and universities have a minimum of $12 billion worth of stock in fossil fuel companies that extract and mine fossil fuels and another $5+ billion in other related companies: those that burn, help extract, and transport them. Yet, we know that the approximately $40 billion that universities have invested in the energy sector is not enough to have a meaningful economic impact on the fossil fuel industry. Instead, by divesting from fossil fuels, we can raise the issue of the impacts of the fossil fuel industry to the level of a moral issue and use the influence and power of colleges and universities to make a statement with our money.

It’s not just about impacting their bottom line; it’s about:

  • Helping a generation understand the impacts of the fossil fuel industry and prepare them to confront the industry and its power directly

  • Creating a national conversation around fossil fuels extraction and burning

  • Moving endowment dollars towards places where they can have a real impact including energy efficiency, community investment and sustainability, and other impact/sustainable investments

  • Driving long-term change in the way that endowments and investments are moved towards building a sustainable and socially just economy

  • Training students and the broader community about the importance of the way that money moves and the role endowments and institutional investors have to play in it

  • Helping build a broader and more diverse movement for social and environmental justice 

FAQ

Why divestment? Do you really expect divesting from fossil fuels to financially hurt the industry?

We are trying to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry, not bankrupt it. Divestment campaigns complement other campaigns for environmental justice by putting the spotlight on the urgency of climate change, the culpability of the fossil fuel industry, and the responsibility we have as citizens, universities, governments, and religious institutions to make a statement with our money. Fossil fuel corporations spend incredible amounts of money to prevent political action and to reduce public awareness of the climate crisis. We can fight back against this powerful industry by creating social stigma through divestment tactics. Divestment has seen success in multiple movements, with the most well-known example being the anti-apartheid divestment movement in the 1980’s, which called global attention to South Africa’s oppressive regime. For more information on the efficacy of divestment, see the Oxford Study below.

The fossil fuel divestment movement is rapidly gaining momentum. We are part of a movement of over 400 campus and 200 community campaigns asking for divestment. Over 180 institutions and local governments have committed have already committed to divest, with over $50 billion dollars divested so far.

Why is climate change such a big deal?

Climate change has become a pressing global issue. According to NASA, 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real and caused by human activity. Consequences of climate change are numerous and include temperature changes, ocean acidification, rising sea levels and coastal flooding, increased occurrences of drought and severe storms, and food insecurity. If allowed to continue unabated, climate change will result in a world not habitable for humans These are global consequences, but they tend to disproportionately affect low-income and indigenous people, as well as those living in developing countries, making it a human rights issue. The Pentagon last year issued a report warning that the consequences of climate change could lead to conflict and war because of scarcity of resources such as arable land, food, and water. Action must be taken immediately to stop this crisis from escalating.

Why are you targeting the fossil fuel industry?

As Bill McKibben explains in the Rolling Stone article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” virtually all countries have agreed that we should not raise the global temperature beyond 2 degrees Celsius in order to avoid a global catastrophe. To stay under the 2 degree limit, we can only add another 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. The fossil fuel industry owns enough underground resources to add 2795 gigatons of carbon, and they are still seeking to acquire more. This industry has a vested interest in using all these resources, and spends huge amounts of money trying to prevent political action on climate change that may impede their ability to do so. We are targeting these corporations because they are hell-bent on burning more carbon than the atmosphere can safely handle.

Won’t this hurt our endowment?

No. Multiple studies indicate that fossil-free portfolios fare as well or even better than stock portfolios including fossil fuel companies. An example from the Aperio group is included below. Furthermore, there is a compelling argument that investing in fossil fuel companies is risky, and that there is actually a “carbon bubble.” Since all of the fossil fuel industry’s underground resources are considered their assets and thus factor into the price of their stocks, their stocks are wildly overvalued as we cannot afford to use more than a fifth of their resources. This means that fossil free stocks could drop dramatically in value without warning.

Why is this NYU’s business? Can’t this just be left to the politicians?

Fossil fuel companies are spending billions to prevent political action. As NYU is an institution of learning, they should be accepting of the scientific reality of climate change and should not be investing in companies that are threatening their students’ future. NYU currently has $139 million dollars in fossil fuel investments, which is 4% of their endowment. NYU divested during the apartheid divestment movement, as well as during the genocide in Sudan, and given the urgency of climate change, we believe it is appropriate for them to do so again.

How can I help/get involved?

People interested in getting involved can sign our petition, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, ask their professor to sign our faculty letter, and talk to their friends about fossil fuel divestment. People who are passionate about this issue are welcome to attend Divest meetings. NYU Divest is a welcoming organization with lateral leadership that is sustained by participation and input from new members.


Latest News

Contacts: Olivia Rich obr211@nyu.edu
Lila Carpenter lrc307@nyu.edu
John Brasley jbrasley3@gmail.com

 

NYU Divest Launches Campaign By Calling John Paulson

The campaign, On Board with Divestment, involves outreach to a new Trustee each week. 

NEW YORK–On February 17, 2017 10 NYU Divest members held signs at the lobby of Bobst Library with information about NYU Trustee and economic advisor to Donald Trump, John Paulson. They distributed information and instructions on how to contact Paulson by phone, email, and mail in order to demand him to respond to university consensus and pursue fossil fuel divestment. Students calling Paulson have spoken to his secretaries and left voicemails.

The initiative, #TrusteeOfTheWeek is part of Divest's newly launched campaign #OnBoardWithDivestment. 

On Board With Divestment is an effort to lessen the anonymity of NYU's Trustees and move NYU towards more accessible and responsive governance. Through direct communication with Trustees, Divest will hold the Board accountable to the University Senate and the University community's decision to divest NYU from climate change.

Divest will target a new Trustee each Friday morning, so that a growing number of Trustees will be contacted each week. 

This week in particular, NYU Divest brought attention to Paulson's involvement in violations of fiduciary duty and conflicts of interests in his deals with Goldman Sachs, and in the profits he made during the 2008 housing crisis. It also highlighted Paulson's long-standing support of Donald Trump's campaign and presidency, while Trump dismantles climate and financial regulations, and weakens the momentum of global climate action. 

"I feel like I'm breaking down a barrier and taking the masks off our Trustees, who are so distant and anonymous to NYU," said CAS Senior Alex Dahlberg on calling Paulson. 

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NYU Trustees Reject Fossil Fuel Divestment Initiative

NYU Divest Announces Their Campaign Will Continue

NEW YORK – On June 16, 2016 the chair of NYU’s Board of Trustees William R. Berkeley and NYU’s recently appointed president Andrew Hamilton sent out a university-wide memorandum stating that the Board of Trustees at NYU does not plan on divesting the university’s $3.4 billion endowment from fossil fuels. This decision follows four years of campaigning for fossil fuel divestment on the part of NYU Divest, which included meetings with a working group, a University Senate divestment resolution passed last April, and two meetings between NYU Divest and members of the Board’s Investment Committee. This April NYU Divest held a 33-hour occupation of the executive elevator in NYU’s Bobst Library over concerns regarding a lack of transparency and accountability in the University’s consideration of divestment.  

Members of the Board of Trustees considered the issue of fossil fuel divestment in response to an April 2015 University Senate resolution for divestment that passed with 80% of votes in favor.

“We remain disturbed that this decision occurred during a closed meeting that didn’t necessarily include a vote from the full Board, but rather a handful of members of the Investment Committee, on a date the university was not previously informed of, with no student or faculty participation. The trustees chose to disregard the resolution that passed our Senate with overwhelming support and is ignoring the thousands of students, faculty, and alumni who have shown their support for divestment. We would be very interested in finding out more about how this decision was actually made,” remarked Olivia Rich, a student member of NYU Divest.

Board Chair Berkeley and President Hamilton submitted a rationale to the University Senate, which they attached to the university-wide memorandum. The two-page document has stirred indignation in the NYU community. “It particularly shocks me that many of the arguments and demands made by the University Senate and, repeatedly, our own campaign, were either blatantly ignored or misconstrued in the Board’s rationale, even while the President and Board Chair repeatedly assert their respect for the Senate and our campaign in the statement. The majority of the objections that the President and the Board’s chairman raised against divestment, aside from being tired and simplistic, do not apply to the demand to divest the endowment of its $700,000 of direct holdings in Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy,” commented Lola Jusidman, another student member of NYU Divest.

“The fight is not over,” remarked Priya Mulgaonkar, an alumna member of Divest. “NYU’s community has shown its support for divestment and we will not end our campaign until NYU’s investments align with our stated mission and values.”

The campaign plans on publishing a fuller response in the near future. More information about NYU Divest can be found at nyudivest.com.

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NYU Faculty Deliver Letter, Maintain Pressure on Administration to allow divestment activists to meet with full board of trustees

The letter was delivered in person to administration and currently has 67 signatories.

NEW YORK – On March 1, 2016, faculty from New York University delivered an open letter to the Office of the President of NYU. The letter questioned the NYU administration's response to student protesters in late April, when members of NYU Divest: Go Fossil Free occupied the executive elevator of the Bobst library for over 33 hours before ending their protest amidst threats of summary suspension. This demonstration was staged in order to address the slow movement of the Board of Trustees in considering fossil fuel divestment. The University Senate voted overwhelmingly more than a year earlier in favor of taking measures towards full divestment.

The protest was also a response to the administration reneging on promises to allow students to meet with the full Board. As a result of deliberations with John Beckman and martin Dorph, two of NYU's executive VPs, during the occupation, NYU Divest won a presentation to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees.

"While we are encouraged that the Investment Committee of the Board is going to meet with students, it doesn't absolve the administration of their promise to meet with the full Board," commented Mark Read, a faculty member who helped organize the letter delivery to the administration. "Divestment, while fiduciarily responsible, is more than an economic issue and therefore students should be allowed to present to the full Board."

The faculty letter asks President Hamilton, Executive Vice President Martin Dorph, and William Berkley, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, why the administration threatened students with summary suspension, contacted students' parents without permission, and refused to keep previous promises regarding NYU's consideration of fossil fuel divestment. The letter states, "These students represent the very best of NYU and deserve to be commended for their dedication to civic responsibility rather than silenced."

The Investment Committee meeting will take place on Tuesday morning. NYU Divest was also promised that the Board was expected to vote on the issue at its June meeting, and that members of NYU Divest could distribute documents and information to the full Board. Administration committed to a written explanation of the Board's ultimate decision.

"The Bobst action was effective in getting the administration to be transparent where they had been less so before," said Nicolas Mirzoeff, another faculty delegate during the letter delivery. "The administration's response to the action seemed heavy handed to the faculty, and we wanted to publicly register our disapproval and concern."

"It was very disheartening that NYU's administration would rather jeopardize the academic careers of 18 students than let us meet with the full Board," commented Olivia Rich, who had been threatened with suspension.

This letter follows a lengthy faculty letter arguing the case for fossil fuel divestment, which now has over 200 signatories, and the publication of an open letter from 16 Gallatin faculty.

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NYU DIVEST ENDS 33 HOUR ELEVATOR OCCUPATION
UNDER THREAT OF IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION

Campaign members left with three of four demands met under threat of severe disciplinary action

NEW YORK – NYU Divest, a coalition of students, faculty, and alumni calling on NYU to divest from fossil fuels, occupied the administrative elevator of Elmer Holmes Bobst Library from 8 AM yesterday to 5 PM today. The campaign’s actions were in response to continued delayed action on the issue of fossil fuel divestment and the administration reneging on a promise that campaign members would be able to meet with the full Board of Trustees. The executive elevator is the designated elevator that goes only to the 11th and 12th floors, which are where the NYU administrative offices are located.

The 18 students who stayed past 1 AM, which was the library lobby’s closing time, were all told that they would face disciplinary action. Despite this risk, the occupation continued overnight and the elevator remained occupied.

The campaign accepted the administration’s concessions to their demands that a good-faith effort would be made to address fossil fuel divestment at the upcoming Board meeting, that the Board would issue a statement explaining their ultimate decision on divestment, and that all Trustees would be provided with campaign materials. The administration rejected the campaign’s demand to meet with the full Board and offered to allow them to meet with the Board’s Investment Committee, which includes 10 of the 68 Board members. The administration stated that a failure to accept this agreement and end the occupation by 5 PM would result in immediate suspension for all students who stayed overnight. Students would not be permitted in any NYU buildings, and would be forced out of the elevator. Additionally, those students relying on University Housing would be moved to different rooms.

“We are shocked by the extremity of this response,” commented Olivia Rich, a campaign member who was at risk of suspension due to her presence at the overnight occupation. “We anticipated disciplinary action, but nothing as severe as a suspension that would be effective immediately. We were peacefully demonstrating in an elevator, not damaging property or significantly impacting operations. It is shocking and puzzling that the university would respond so forcefully to a request to meet with the full Board of Trustees for ten minutes as previously promised by the administration.”

“Suspension, which could be academically devastating to students, is a completely disproportionate response to peaceful protesters,”  Kelly Davis, who was also at risk of disciplinary action, agreed. “Why is a meeting with the full Board, as previously promised, such an unreasonable demand?”

“When the administration came to threaten suspension, I asked them for an explanation as to why a presentation to the full Board is not feasible aside from a lack of precedent. They refused to answer the question,” stated Lola Jusidman, also at risk of suspension. “I am outraged that they would rather shut us out of the university than provide us with an explanation.”

The administration issued an ultimatum yesterday offering a meeting with the Investment Committee of the Board if the protest ended immediately, and the campaign declined that offer at the time.

“We chose to decline the administration’s offer because it was not what we were promised,” Jon Brasley, who stayed overnight, said, “Divestment deserves a full and nuanced hearing, and that cannot happen without NYU Divest in the room. Divest has been representing the entire university community who want fossil fuel divestment, and that representation needs to be heard directly by all members before a decision is reached.”

“We had to accept this offer now because we could not afford to risk our futures. We are ending our protest now, but we will not stop advocating for a fair hearing for fossil fuel divestment. Despite this outrageous development, we still successfully achieved our other three demands and are proud of that victory,” concluded Sophie Lasoff, another student at risk of suspension.

Background Information 

In 2014, former NYU President John Sexton promised the campaign a presentation with the Board of Trustees if the University Senate passed a favorable resolution, which occurred in April of 2015. Last December, NYU Divest held a sit-in in the administrative offices of Bobst asking for a meeting with the Board, and were granted a meeting with two members of the Board’s investment committee. At that meeting, NYU Divest was promised an update on the issue of divestment following the Investment Committee’s next meeting. The Investment Committee met in late February, and had not given Divest and update or a timeline of consideration.

The occupation has been endorsed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on twitter. Other endorsements include Yale, Columbia, and Cornell’s divestment movements. Columbia students are currently on their sixth day of a similar occupation in Low Library. Several faculty members have also expressed support for the action.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign is a global movement urging schools, institutions, and governments to divest from the fossil fuel industry because of the industry’s primary role in causing climate change and preventing meaningful action to address it. At present, more than 500 institutions, now including Yale University, have committed to the divestment of more than $3 trillion from the fossil fuel industry. 

Alexandra Dahlberg, another member who occupied the elevator overnight, stated, “The effects of climate change are already having devastating impacts, such as extreme weather, flooding, and reductions in food supplies. This February and March have been the hottest months on record. This crisis is disproportionately harming communities of color and the world’s poor. Divesting from an industry that is willfully worsening climate change is an issue of justice. That’s why we are occupying this elevator and asking NYU to ‘rise with us’ by taking a stand on this issue.”

For more information and photos of the past events of the action: https://medium.com/@sophielasoff/students-are-rising-at-nyu-361eaf9a34f8#.wbhgta5mt

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NYU DIVEST ENTERS 2ND DAY OF ELEVATOR OCCUPATION:
18 STUDENTS FACING DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The group is occupying the Bobst executive elevator to demand fair treatment in the Board of Trustee’s consideration of fossil fuel divestment

NEW YORK - On April 18, 2016, NYU Divest, a coalition of students, faculty, and alumni calling on NYU to divest from fossil fuels, occupied the administrative elevator of Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. The campaign’s actions are in response to continued delayed action on the issue of fossil fuel divestment and the administration reneging on a promise that campaign members would be able to meet with the full Board of Trustees. Members have been occupying the elevator since 8 AM yesterday. The executive elevator is the designated elevator that goes only to the 11th and 12th floors, which are where the NYU administrative offices are located.

The 18 students who stayed past 1 AM were all told that they would face disciplinary action. Despite this risk, the occupation continued overnight and the elevator remains occupied.

The campaign yesterday reached an agreement with the administration that a good-faith effort would be made to address fossil fuel divestment at the upcoming Board meeting, and stated they would provide Trustees with materials from the campaign. However, NYU Divest is remaining in the elevator because their demand to present to the full Board as promised has not been met. The administration issued an ultimatum yesterday offering a meeting with the Investment Committee of the Board if the protest ended immediately. The campaign declined that offer.

“We chose to decline the administration’s offer because it was not what we were promised,” Jon Brasley, who stayed overnight, said, “Divestment deserves a full and nuanced hearing, and that cannot happen without NYU Divest in the room. Divest has been representing the entire university community who want fossil fuel divestment, and that representation needs to be heard directly by all members before a decision is reached.”

“Our ask is completely reasonable,” commented Olivia Rich, another member facing disciplinary action. “We want a handful of people to present to the full Board briefly and professionally on a subject with which we have significant experience and interest. Why is the administration opposed to listening to the voices of their own students? We are sitting in to protest this lack of accountability and transparency.” 

The occupation has been endorsed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on twitter. Other endorsements include Yale, Columbia, and Cornell’s divestment movements. Columbia students are currently on their sixth day of a similar occupation in Low Library. Several faculty members have also expressed support for the action.

For more information on the events of the action, go here. 

 

Background Information: 

In 2014, former NYU President John Sexton promised the campaign a presentation with the Board of Trustees if the University Senate passed a favorable resolution, which occurred in April of 2015. Last December, NYU Divest held a sit-in in the administrative offices of Bobst asking for a meeting with the Board, and were granted a meeting with two members of the Board’s investment committee. At that meeting, NYU Divest was promised an update on the issue of divestment following the Investment Committee’s next meeting. The Investment Committee met in late February, and still has not given Divest and update or a timeline of consideration.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign is a global movement urging schools, institutions, and governments to divest from the fossil fuel industry because of the industry’s primary role in causing climate change and preventing meaningful action to address it. At present, more than 500 institutions, now including Yale University, have committed to the divestment of more than $3 trillion from the fossil fuel industry.

Alexandra Dahlberg, another member who occupied the elevator overnight, stated, “The effects of climate change are already having devastating impacts, such as extreme weather, flooding, and reductions in food supplies. This February and March have been the hottest months on record. This crisis is disproportionately harming communities of color and the world’s poor. Divesting from an industry that is willfully worsening climate change is an issue of justice. That’s why we are occupying this elevator and asking NYU to ‘rise with us’ by taking a stand on this issue.”

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HAPPENING NOW: NYU DIVEST OCCUPIES EXECUTIVE ELEVATOR IN NYU ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING

NEW YORK - On April 18, 2016, NYU Divest, a coalition of students, faculty, and alumni calling on NYU to divest from fossil fuels, are occupying the administrative elevator in the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library in response to continued delayed action on the issue of fossil fuel divestment. Members arrived at 8 AM this morning. The executive elevator is the only elevator that goes directly to the 11th and 12th floors, which are where the NYU administrative offices are located. NYU Divest is demanding that NYU’s Board of Trustees schedule a vote on fossil fuel divestment, and allow NYU Divest to present to the full Board on the issue.

In 2014, former NYU President John Sexton promised the campaign a presentation with the Board of Trustees if the University Senate passed a favorable resolution, which occurred in April of 2015. Last December, NYU Divest held a sit-in in the administrative offices of Bobst asking for a meeting with the Board, and were granted a meeting with two members of the Board’s investment committee. At that meeting, NYU Divest was promised an update on the issue of divestment following the Investment Committee’s next meeting. The Investment Committee met in late February, and still has not been updated or given a timeline of consideration.

“The delays must stop. It is clear that NYU intends to drag this process out for as long as it can,” stated Olivia Rich, a campaign member currently occupying the elevator. “Given the urgency of climate change, it is unacceptable for the Board of Trustees to delay a vote on this issue. It has been a year since the University Senate passed a favorable resolution, and we need answers,”

Jon Brasley, another member occupying the elevator, commented: “We are asking for what was promised to us in 2014, which is a presentation with the full board, with the expectation that the Board of Trustees make a decision.”

The fossil fuel divestment campaign is a global movement urging schools, institutions, and governments to divest from the fossil fuel industry because of the industry’s primary role in causing climate change and preventing meaningful action to address it. At present, more than 500 institutions, now including Yale University, have committed to the divestment of more than $3 trillion from the fossil fuel industry. The last week has seen a series of escalations from divestment campaigns, including a sit-in at Columbia, and the arrests of students 34 protesting students at UMass and 4 at Harvard.  

Alexandra Dahlberg, another member occupying the elevator, stated, “The effects of climate change are already having devastating impacts, such as extreme weather, flooding, and reductions in food supplies. This February and March have been the hottest months on record. This crisis is disproportionately harming communities of color and the world’s poor. Divesting from an industry that is willfully worsening climate change is an issue of justice. That’s why we are occupying this elevator and asking NYU to ‘rise with us’ by taking a stand on this issue.”

 

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NYU Divest Occupies Bobst and Wins Demands

On December 16th, NYU Divest occupied the twelfth floor of Bobst library, demanding that steps be taken towards addressing divestment at the university. After more than seven months of delay tactics and broken promises from the university, the action secured Divest a meeting with the Board of Trustees to present divestment, as well as a Board member liaison to facilitate communications.

Below is the email delineating the outcomes of the occupation and Divest's expectations moving forward:

To: John Sexton, Martin Dorph, Lynne Brown, 
Please Forward To: William Berkley, Andrew Hamilton, and the NYU Board of Trustees
CC: Michael Hengerer, Allen Mincer, Fred Carl, David Vintinner, Terrance Nolan, Thomas Carew
From: NYU Divest

Today, NYU Divest and allies held a sit-in at the administrative offices of Bobst library in response to continued delayed action on the issue of fossil fuel divestment.

NYU Divest and the administration came to the following agreement:

  • That members of NYU Divest will meet with and present to the Board Subcommittee on Fossil Fuel Divestment as soon as possible at the start of the Spring 2016 Semester. The intention of the Board is to hold this meeting by the end of January, and no later than February.
  • That members of NYU Divest be put in touch with the appointed Subcommittee Chair.

Lynne Brown will be giving us the date of the scheduled meeting and the point of contact by Friday, December 18th.

NYU Divest would like to express the following expectations regarding the process of NYU’s Board of Trustees’ consideration of fossil fuel divestment:

  1. We expect that the composition of the subcommittee be diverse in opinion, background, and experience so that NYU Divest is given a fair and unbiased hearing.
  2. We expect that members of NYU Divest will be included in all meetings of the subcommittee for the purpose of transparency and fairness.
  3. We expect that the issue of fossil fuel divestment be on the full Board’s agenda to discuss and consider by the end of the Spring of 2016. Given the pressing and urgent nature of climate change, as well as the time already spent investigating this issue by the University Senate, which passed a resolution in favor, this is a reasonable timeframe.
  4. We request that members of NYU Divest be present for the duration of the discussion of fossil fuel divestment at the full Board meeting for the purpose of transparency and accountability.

We have CC’d all the Chairs of the University Senate Councils to update them on this issue if they wish to relay it to their respective councils. NYU Divest and our supporters are heartened that this process is now moving forward with transparency and accountability.

Respectfully,
The Members of NYU Divest

Governor Cuomo comes to NYU, talks climate change, universities

Our own Sophie Lasoff during a panel following Cuomo's discussion: "NYU has invested $139 million, which is about 4 percent of the endowment, in the fossil fuel industry. We were able to get a resolution passed and now we’re waiting to hear back from the board.” 

Read more at Washington Square News!

NYU MOVES FORWARD ON FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT

University Senate Passes resolution to divest from fossil fuels

NEW YORK— On Thursday, the NYU University Senate passed a resolution in favor of fossil fuel divestment. The terms of the resolution include freezing future investments in publicly-traded coal, oil and gas companies, and requiring the board to investigate ways to make the endowment more socially responsible. The resolution will be presented to the Board by members of the group NYU Divest later this year.

"This is a significant day for NYU,” commented Jeff Goodwin, University Senator and Professor of Sociology. "For the first time since the Darfur crisis, the University Senate has recommended divestment."

In the final vote count, 65 senators voted in favor of the proposal and 10 senators voted against, with seven abstentions. In over an hour of deliberations, students, faculty, and administrators advocated for climate action and pushed back against voices of dissent. The Senate has heard our community’s demands and proved that they stand by the moral imperative of divestment.

“We still have a long fight ahead,” reads an official statement from NYU Divest. “Despite the popular support of the Senate, the written resolution falls short of full divestment. Bureaucratic complications in the last minutes of the meeting prevented the Senate from resolving to additionally divest currently held fossil fuel stocks in Anadarko and Noble Energy.”

Prior to the meeting, over 70 students rallied in Washington Square park, holding signs reading “Vote Yes to Divest” and “Invest in our Future”. NYU Divest Actions Coordinator, Priya Mulgaonkar, stated: “The energy from the rally reflects how deeply the NYU community cares about the urgency of climate change. This vote is an enormous victory for our campaign, providing us the opportunity to bring fossil fuel divestment to the Board of Trustees in 2015."

Goodwin concluded: "While I feel strongly that NYU should act even more aggressively to respond to climate change, this recommendation is an important first step on the road toward aligning our investments with the science on climate change."

###

 

RECENT PRESS

MORE UPDATES

 

NYU Divest Statement on the University Senate Vote:
We Still Have A Fight Ahead

We are pleased to announce that the University Senate, the highest representative body at NYU, voted overwhelmingly to cease further investments in coal, oil, and gas companies. In the final vote count, 65 senators voted in favor of the proposal and 10 senators voted against, with seven abstentions. In over an hour of deliberations, students, faculty, and administrators advocated for climate action and pushed back against voices of dissent. The Senate has taken our community’s demands seriously and proved that they stand by the moral imperative of divestment.

The statement to cease all future investments and prioritize positive reinvestment is very strong. The terms of the resolution include ceasing all future investments in publicly-traded coal, oil and gas companies, and requiring the Board to investigate strategies to make the endowment more socially responsible. This emphasizes the role of our endowment in the long-term, and takes stand against fossil fuels for the future.

We still have a long fight ahead. Despite the popular support of the Senate, the written resolution falls short of full divestment. The Senate did not resolve to additionally divest currently held direct holdings of stocks in Anadarko and Noble Energy or commingled funds.

This is a crucial step towards our demand for divestment, but we maintain that so long as the University holds fossil fuel equities it will not stand fully on the side of climate justice. The conversation with the Senate is not over, and we will continue to press for statement of support for full divestment. The Tenured Faculty Senators Council will be discussing a resolution next week. In June, our campaign will personally present our case to the Board of Trustees, and we will call on them to divest from direct fossil fuel holdings, freeze new investments, and proactively engage in ethical reinvestment.

We see this as a victory because of the overwhelming popular support on the floor of the Senate and the beginning of conversations with the Board. The Senate has proved that our voices matter. Our petitions matter. Our rallies matter. Our actions matter. This is a historic moment for our campaign and the University as a whole. Not since the Darfur crisis has the NYU community motioned to take such a strong political stance with the endowment.

Thank you to our supporters who made this moment happen. We are going to need you every step of the way as we deliberate with the Board of Trustees in 2015. Onwards.


Our Actions

We dedicate time, energy and creativity to making noise in favor of divestment! Check out our latest actions and videos.

200+ Faculty have signed in support of fossil fuel divestment

 

AN OPEN LETTER:

FACULTY CALL FOR FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

SPRING TERM 2016

Dear President Andrew Hamilton,

To model our sustainability values and global citizenship, to protect the core operations of our worldwide institution, and to do right by our present and future students, New York University—as a Global Network University[1]—has the responsibility to use every peaceful means to mitigate anthropogenic global climate change and adapt to its unfolding, unprecedented challenges.

Our scholarly mission supports research and teaching on the issues raised by climate change. We applaud NYU’s role as a first responder in past climate actions.[2] NYU was, for example, an early signer of Mayor Bloomberg’s sustainability challenges and the American College and University’s Presidents’ Climate Commitment. NYU put our new cogeneration plant into operation swiftly, exceeding our initial greenhouse gas reduction goals as we work toward our commitment of net-zero emissions.

We, as members of your faculty, now call on NYU to complement these initiatives by divesting from fossil fuels. We make this appeal in solidarity with NYU Divest, a coalition of NYU community members linked with a fast-growing global movement.

Global Climate Change Knowledge

According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[3] [IPCC], human influence on the climate system is clear, as are its widespread consequences for human and Earth systems. Because of human activities since the industrial revolution, present-day atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions have increased. Their concentrations now are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide, of major importance, has recently passed 400 parts per million [ppm],[4] which is already well above the mid-nineteenth century average of around 280 ppm[5] and the 350 ppm[6] threshold for safety. The effects include rising average global surface and ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification. Around the world, climate change has brought melting ice and climbing sea levels. It has translated into higher probabilities of extreme droughts, heat waves, intense storms like Sandy—which touched many personally within the NYU community—species extinction risk, alongside eruptions of disease and pest organisms, and greater food insecurity. The world’s poor[7]—who already lack protective infrastructure, access to health care, land, and resources to migrate from unsafe areas—are most vulnerable to devastating consequences of global climate change. As warming continues, today’s youth and future generations are at mounting risk.

On December 12, 2015, the world united on the Paris Agreement to curb mounting risks by committing to limit global temperature rise this century to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.[8] Earth’s temperature has risen approximately .85 degrees Celsius since 1880,[9] already half of the maximum.

According to the IPCC Report, remaining below a two-degree rise will require keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide (eq) concentrations below 450 ppm in 2100. This will require reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70% of 2010 levels by 2050, and bringing “emissions levels near zero or below” by the end of this century.[10]

Resistance of the Fossil Fuel Industry

According to the International Energy Agency,[11] carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion contributes almost 70% of total global greenhouse emissions from human activity. Keeping carbon dioxide concentrations down, therefore, as the IPCC Report states, will require phasing out fossil fuel[12] power generation by the end of this century. This means keeping at least two-thirds[13] of proven fossil fuel reserves under the ground.[14] Avoiding climate catastrophe requires a different global investment landscape.[15] It requires shifting[16] hundreds of billions of dollars to low-carbon ventures, stranding[17] investments left in fossil fuels.

Immensely wealthy fossil fuel corporations, however, insist otherwise. In the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas corporation, conducted cutting-edge research that forecast global warming with consequential dangers caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Company managers used the scientific information to profit their own operations while failing to reveal externally all they learned. Since then, for nearly three decades, Exxon Mobil has worked deliberately to sow public doubt about the amassing evidence of anthropogenic global climate change and to block controls on greenhouse gas emissions.[18] While industry members now outwardly admit risks of global warming, their actions ignore what is required physically and economically to avoid intensifying global climate catastrophe. For example, reports by Exxon Mobil[19] find it “possible,” but “difficult to envision,” that governments will choose the path to net-zero carbon and strand the company’s assets. The industry, led by Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil, also spent over $129 million on U.S. political lobbying in 2015.[20]Another indicator of theindustry’s ongoing intentions to profit at the cost of climate catastrophe are their increasing outlays[21]—which more than tripled from $200 billion in 2010 to about $650 billion in 2013—to expand production and explore for more oil, gas, and coal.[22]

Global Climate Change: “A Deep Injustice”

Whatever the fossil fuel industry may say, however, as the IPCC Report stresses repeatedly, delay[23] in shifting the investment terrain, implementing low-carbon technologies, and curbing global greenhouse gas emissions will heighten the risk of increasing already costly and alarming global climate change consequences. Delay[24] also will shift these burdens to future generations, as will the unwillingness to use every just and peaceful means to resist the fossil fuel industry’s power to fuel climate change.

As matters stand, future generations, today’s youth, and the world’s poor—those with little to no responsibility for carbon emissions—will pay the steepest price in devastating climate change consequences. Many agree that this is morally wrong.[25] In a 2014 article in The Guardian,[26] Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu—South African anti-apartheid champion of a peaceful, democratic, and just society—said that climate change is the “human rights issue of our time….It is a deep injustice.” The deep injustice of anthropogenic global climate change is an unprecedentedly sweeping, grave, and irreversible injustice.

Individual action—including a walk to the recycling bin or riding a bike rather than driving a car—remains invaluable, as does personal integrity. Anthropogenic global climate change, however, is a colossal, collective problem—prudentially, economically, and morally—necessitating collective, system-leveraging[27] feats of greenhouse gas-limiting transformation.

“The good news,” Tutu declared, is that “young people across the world have identified climate change as the biggest challenge of our time, and already begun to do something about it.” Indeed, we are seeing an anti-apartheid-style boycott tailored to the fossil fuel industry—that is, “the rise of a new civil society divestment movement,”[28]which continues growing fast.

“The Good News”:  Global Fossil Fuel Resistance

Many at the forefront of the escalating fossil fuel divestment call-to-action are those with the most at stake: young people, including our students. NYU Divest: Go Fossil Free[29] is a coalition of students joined by us—their faculty—and staff and alumni, networked with campaigns at over 500 other institutions representing over $3.4 trillion in assets.[30] Divesting institutions include over 50 colleges and universities and over 50 cities. A growing number of faith-based groups, pension funds, and health interests also have made divestment commitments, among them The World Council of Churches, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, and The British Medical Association. The British Medical Journal has endorsed fossil fuel divestment, viewing climate change as a human health emergency.[31] Other dedicated organizations include the Union of Concerned Scientists, Guardian Media Group, and both the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

The day after 400,000 people joined in the People’s Climate March through New York City’s streets in September of 2014, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund[32]—built on the wealth of Standard Oil Company, with a corporate legacy that includes Exxon Mobil and Chevron—announced its plans to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Embracing the irony, the Fund divested because, in the words of a trustee, “There was a very clear moral impetus to do this.” The Fund’s decision was also triggered, in the words of its spokeswoman, by “the schizophrenic notion that we had investments that were undermining our grants.”[33]Thirdly, they divested because it was a sound economic decision given the imminent stranding of fossil fuel assets in a climate change-mitigated world.[34]

Divest the Global Network University from Fossil Fuels

President Hamilton: we, your faculty, in solidarity with the coalition NYU Divest, are calling on you and the Board of Trustees, to recognize (1) the clear moral impetus for divestment—climate change endangers present and future generations of our students; (2) the logic of divestment—it makes sense to divest from an industry that not only undermines our endowment, but the Earth-embedded mission of our global network university; (3) that divestment is a judicious economic decision. Recent studies modeling investment returns by S&P Capital IQ[35] and the Aperio Group[36] suggest that endowments divested from fossil fuels will perform equally well or, as a consequence, better.[37] At the same time, helpful resources are emerging within firms and foundations. The Aperio Group, Cambridge Associates,[38] the Responsible Endowments Coalition,[39] Divest-Invest Philanthropy,[40] and Fossil Free Indexes,[41] for example, offer to assist institutions in crafting fossil-free, climate responsible portfolios.

And, (4) divestment matters. The argument that a relatively small amount of money divested from the immensely wealthy, profit-driven fossil fuel industry will not be significant ignores another recent study,[42] published by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, your former home institution. The evidence of this study supports the far-reaching power of the stigmatization process. Historically, divestment strategies have been successful in transforming corporate behavior, influencing investors, lowering values of stock and pressuring government legislation that would not otherwise have happened. Such indirect effects, which may include leveraging a carbon tax, would indeed have an economic consequence for the fossil fuel industry. Re-investment in climate-responsible alternatives can disrupt business-as-usual and trigger urgently needed fossil free transitions.

President Hamilton, as you know,[43] our students have been leaders in generating intelligent dialogue and wide support for fossil fuel divestment within our university community since November, 2012. We applaud your predecessor Dr. John Sexton for responding to their initiative by setting up a Fossil Fuel Divestment Working Group[44] to study the matter and make a recommendation to the University Senate. This group, chaired by NYU’s Chief Financial Officer, Martin Dorph, and composed of members of the University Senate’s Financial Affairs Committee, clarified NYU’s responsibilities as investors. Taking an admirable step towards transparency, the working group announced that just over 4% or $139 million of NYU’s $3.4 billion endowment is invested in fossil fuels.[45]

On April 30, 2015, The University Senate—representing us, your faculty, and your students—voted overwhelmingly in support of fossil fuel divestment measures.[46] We are pleased that our Board of Trustees is now taking up this matter.

We believe that fossil fuel divestment is the morally and efficaciously appropriate next move for NYU to take as a leader in climate action. We believe that it is also our responsibility to divest as a global network university whose core mission is threatened by climate change consequences. There is strong evidence that divesting our endowment is also a financially responsible step, and there are many resources available that will help make it so.

We—your faculty—in solidarity with NYU Divest and a compelling global fossil fuel divestment movement, call on you, President Hamilton, as well as the Board of Trustees to act swiftly in democratic accord with the bearing of the University Senate. We continue to call on NYU to freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies and to divest both direct holdings and commingled funds in our endowment from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. We also trust that the Board, heeding the University Senate’s recommendations, will study and pursue climate-responsible investments.

President Hamilton, our job as NYU’s faculty is to create new knowledge, to pass it on to our students all over the planet, and to model global citizenship. Today, global citizenship and intergenerational responsibility to students—who already feel the tolls of climate change—mean being able to look our young people in the eyes[47] and say that our global network community is doing everything it can to alleviate climate change, and to win a brighter future.

Sincerely,

 {View current list of Faculty signatories here}

 

 [1] John Sexton, “Global Network University Reflection” (remarks prepared by NYU President for international conferences taking place in Fall 2010), December 21, 2010, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.nyu.edu/about/leadership-university-administration/office-of-the-president/redirect/speeches-statements/global-network-university-reflection.html

[2] NYU Sustainability, “Climate Action Plan” (Report, New York University, Winter 2009), accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.nyu.edu/sustainability/pdf/capreport10.pdf

[3] R.K. Pachauri et al., “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers” (IPCC Report, 2014), accessed January 25, 2015,  http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPMcorr2.pdf

[4] Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.” NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html

[5] The Royal Society, “Climate Change: A Summary of the Science,” September 30, 2010, accessed January 25, 2015, https://royalsociety.org/~/media/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2010/4294972962.pdf , 6.

[6] James Hansen et al., “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?” The Open Atmospheric Science Journal 2 (2008): 217-231, accessed January 25, 2015, http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha00410c.html

[7] Piya Abeygunawardena et al.. “Poverty and Climate Change: Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor Through Adaptation,” OECD, accessed January 25, 2015. http://www.oecd.org/env/cc/2502872.pdf

[8] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change—December 12, 2015,” accessed March 20, 2016, http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/finale-cop21/

[9] Pachauri et al., “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers,” 1.

[10] Ottmar Edenhofer, “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change: Summary for Policymakers” (IPCC Report, 2014, 10), accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg3/ipcc_wg3_ar5_summary-for-policymakers.pdf , 10.

[11] International Energy Agency, “CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion” (Report, 2014, 8), accessed January 25, 2015. http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/co2-emissions-from-fuel-combustion-highlights-2014.html

[12] Pachauri et al., “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers,” 31.

[13] Carbon Tracker Initiative, “Unburnable Carbon—Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?” (Report, 2014), accessed January 25, 2015,  http://www.carbontracker.org/report/carbon-bubble/

[14] Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone. August, 2012, accessed January 25, 2015,

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

[15] International Energy Agency, “World Energy Investment Outlook 2014 Factsheet Overview” (Report, 2014, 1), accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.iea.org/media/140603_WEOinvestment_Factsheets.pdf

[16] Edenhofer, “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change: Summary for Policymakers,” 26.

[17] Tim Dickinson, “The Logic of Divestment: Why we Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon Now,” Rolling Stone, January 14, 2015, 2, 4, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-logic-of-divestment-why-we-have-to-kiss-off-big-carbon-20150114

[18] Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer, “Exxon: The Road Not Taken,” Inside Climate News, September 16, 2015, accessed March 21, 2016, http://insideclimatenews.org/content/Exxon-The-Road-Not-Taken ; Sara Jerving, Katie Jennings, Masako Melissa Hirsch, and Susan Rust, “What Exxon knew about the Earth’s melting Arctic,” LA Times, October 9, 2015, accessed March 31, 2016, http://graphics.latimes.com/exxon-arctic/

[19] Exxon Mobil, “Energy and Carbon: Managing the Risks” (Report, 7, 11), accessed January 25, 2015, http://cdn.exxonmobil.com/~/media/Files/Other/2014/Report%20-%20Energy%20and%20Carbon%20-%20Managing%20the%20Risks.pdf

[20] “Oil and Gas: Industry Profile: Summary, 2015,” OpenSecrets. Org, accessed March 20, 2016. https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=E01

[21] Morris Beschloss, “Global Oil and Gas Spending Heavy in Exploration/Development,” The Desert Sun. May 29, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.desertsun.com/story/money/industries/morrisbeschlosseconomics/2014/05/29/global-oil-and-gas-spending-heavy-in-explorationdevelopment/9733863/ .

[22] Recently, due in part to a recent glut of fossil fuels, their prices have dropped. Industry analysts talk in terms of “deferring” some costly projects with the expectation that prices will recover, even if it takes some years. E.g., Clifford Krauss, “Oil Prices: What’s Behind the Drop? Simple Economics,” The New York Times, updated March 8, 2016, accessed March 21, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/business/energy-environment/oil-prices.html?_r=0; WoodMackenzie, “Deferred upstream projects tally reaches 68, January 14, 2016, accessed March 21, 2016, http://www.woodmac.com/media-centre/12530462 .

A sustained upswing remains to be seen, however. Climate-conscious policy implemented globally and in good faith, not resource geopolitics, must soon become the primary and enduring determinant of investment patterns.

Meanwhile, as of early 2016, the world’s five largest oil explorers, including Exxon Mobil Corp, had their credit ratings cut or threatened with downgrade. See Joe Carroll, “Exxon Faces First Downgrade Since Depression as Oil Rout Worsens,” Bloomberg Business,  February 2, 2016, accessed March 21, 2016, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-02/chevron-hess-join-ranks-of-downgraded-crude-oil-explorers 

[23] Pachauri et al., “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers,” 17, 18, 21, 25, 27, 34; Ottmar, “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change: Summary for Policymakers,” 12, 15, 16.

[24] Pachauri et al., “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers,” 17.

[25] E.g., Pope Francis. Praise Be To You: Laudato Si’ (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2015), accessed, March 21, 2016, http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

[26] Desmond Tutu, “We fought apartheid. Now climate change is our global enemy.” The Guardian. September 20, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/21/desmond-tutu-climate-change-is-the-global-enemy

[27] Donella Meadows, “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System” (The Sustainability Institute, 1999), accessed January 25 2015,  http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system/

[28] Desmond Tutu, “We need an apartheid-styled boycott to save the planet,” The Guardian, April 10, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/10/divest-fossil-fuels-climate-change-keystone-xl ; “Desmond Tutu: We fought apartheid. Now climate change is our global enemy,” The Guardian, September 21, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/21/desmond-tutu-climate-change-is-the-global-enemy

[29] “NYU Divest,” accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.nyudivest.com/

[30] “Go Fossil Free,” accessed January 25, 2015, http://gofossilfree.org/

[31] Fiona Godlee, “Editorial: Climate Change,” British Medical Journal 349 (2014): g5945, October 1, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015,  http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5945  

[32] CBC News, “Rockefellers to Sell Oil Assets as Part of $50B Global Warming Fight.” September 22, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015,  http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/rockefellers-to-sell-oil-assets-as-part-of-50b-global-warming-fight-1.2773771; Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, “A Rockefeller explains: Why I lost faith in Exxon Mobil, and donated my shares,” February 15, 2016, accessed March 21, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-rockefeller-goodwin-oil-stock-global-warming-20160215-story.html

[33] Dickinson, “The Logic of Divestment: Why we Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon Now,” 2.

[34] Reasoning likewise, the Rockefeller Family Fund, in March 2016, announced their plan to divest from fossil fuels. Following reports of the Exxon Mobil climate change cover-up, Rockefeller heirs also singled out this company spun out of their family’s oil-fortune heritage for “morally reprehensible conduct.” See Rockefeller Family Fund, “RFFs Decision to Divest,” accessed March 29, 2016, http://www.rffund.org/divestment; Rupert Neate, “Rockefeller family charity to withdraw all investments in fossil fuel companies,” The Guardian, March 23, 2016, accessed March 29, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/23/rockefeller-fund-divestment-fossil-fuel-companies-oil-coal-climate-change

[35] Kevin Begos and Joann Loviglio, “College fossil fuel divestment movement builds,” AP, May 22, 2013, accessed January 25, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/college-fossil-fuel-divestment-movement-173859677.html

[36] Aperio Group, “Do the investment math: Building a carbon-free portfolio” (Report, 2013),  accessed January 25, 2015,  http://divestinvest.org/individual/invest/

[37] A new report suggests that New York State’s pension fund, the third largest in the country, would have performed better over the past three years by divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in clean energy. Alison Moodie, “New York pension fund could have made billions by divesting from fossil fuels-report,” The Guardian, March 4, 2016, accessed March 30, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/04/fossil-fuel-divestment-new-york-state-pension-fund-hurricane-sandy-ftse

[38]Marina Martinez, “Cambridge Associates, college’s main advisement firm, will help schools divest,” The Phoenix. November 19, 2014, accessed January 25, 2015, http://swarthmorephoenix.com/2014/11/19/cambridge-associates-colleges-main-advisement-firm-will-help-schools-divest/

[39] The Responsible Endowments Coalition, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.endowmentethics.org/committees_resources

[40] Divest-Invest Philanthropy, accessed January 25, 2015, http://divestinvest.org

[41] Fossil Free Indexes, accessed Marcy 21, 2016, http://fossilfreeindexes.com

[42] Atif Ansar, Ben Caldecott, and James Tilbury, “Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: What does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets?” (Report, Stranded Assets Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, 2013), accessed January 25, 2015. http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-programmes/stranded-assets/SAP-divestment-report-final.pdf

[43]Melissa Cronin and Student Nation, “NYU Divest Meets with Senior Administrators, Calls for Climate Justice,” The Nation. April 18, 2013, accessed January 25, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/blog/173927/nyu-divest-meets-senior-administrators-calls-climate-justice

[44] NYU University Senate’s Financial Affairs Committee/Fossil Fuel Divestment Working Group, “Mission Statement for Fossil Fuel Divestment Working Group” (Statement, 2014).

[45] Jeffrey Rathgeber, “Fossil Fuel Divestment Office Presentation” (PowerPoint presentation to the NYU Fossil Fuel Divestment Working Group, NYU Divestment Office, Nov. 20, 2014). As of 9/30/2014, of the approximately 4% exposure, .02% is held directly in NYU’s name (Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy).

[46] “Minutes of a Stated Meeting of the Senate of New York University, April 30, 2015,” accessed March 21, 2016, https://www.nyu.edu/content/dam/nyu/univSenate/documents/Senate-Minutes-4-30-15.pdf 

[47] Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (New York: New Directions, 1974), 86: “For the Children,” accessed January 25, 2015, http://moralground.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/GarySnyder.pdf

 

Endorsements from the NYU Community

 

WHY NYU SHOULD DIVEST

BY PROFESSOR CHRISTIAN PARENTI

"Though divestment will not hurt the bottom line of fossil fuel companies, it does send a powerful message to our government and society at large. Divestment by colleges and universities indicates a broad and mainstream concern about the climate crisis. It is a powerful symbolic act that reminds our law makers that the fossil fuel industry needs to be tightly regulated, stripped of subsidies, then put out of business and replaced with a new clean energy system.

That project, rebuilding our energy system, is not as far-fetched as it sounds. We have three of the four components we need to make the transition. We have the technology, for example commercial scale solar and wind power. We have the money, the American private sector is sitting on more uninvested  cash than at any time since such records were kept, plus  government consumes enormous amounts of energy meaning it could consume  (fund) the production of clean energy. We even have the laws needed: the Clean Air Act, as augmented by the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v EPA , mandates that the federal government drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The only missing ingredient in this transition is political will.  Divestment can help overcome that last deficiency.

NYU students have been working very hard and skillfully for two years on divestment. It’s time for the NYU board of trustees to show real leadership and vote to divest. History will look kindly on them if they do." 

Christian Parenti teaches in the Liberal Studies program, has a PhD in geography from London School of Economics, and has published four books, most recent of which is: Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.

Incarceration to Education Coalition (IEC)

"We see the climate crisis as intrinsically tied to colonialism, racism, and capitalism. These systems work in tandem to oppress people of color by taking resources from poor and non-European communities to fuel power and privilege. We must divest for those who grow up in food deserts and asthma-ridden neighborhoods like the South Bronx; for the communities of color acutely devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; for farmers repeatedly devastated by typhoons in the Philippines; for those fighting for development justice and alternatives to coal power in places like South Africa; for the indigenous communities laying down their lives to fight the Keystone XL Pipeline. This is a global human rights issue that affects historically oppressed communities everywhere. IEC is accountable to such communities, and one of the most effective ways to stop the accumulation of resources is to divest.

We therefore support NYU Divest’s campaign that calls on NYU to divest $139 million from the fossil fuel industry and to cut ties with corporations that finance the climate crisis and perpetuate imperial power. We believe that NYU and other institutions of higher education have a social and moral responsibility to prioritize the futures of their students and their communities. We also believe that because of the privilege that we have in the United States, we are accountable to the “developing” world and to indigenous people to stop extracting resources for profit. We call on NYU to not remain complicit in this environmental injustice and to uphold human rights, whether they be the right to access education or live in affirming, uncontaminated environments."

Click here to read IEC's full analysis of climate justice. 

Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU)

"The graduate workers of NYU-AWDU are thrilled to endorse NYU Divest's campaign to have our university divest from fossil fuels. We believe the university must divest its resources from the fossil fuel industry, whose economic activities and political attacks on low-carbon policies are threatening the well-being, even the survival, of students, workers, and community members—at NYU, and around the world."

Learn more: http://www.nyuawdu.com

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

“NYU Students for Justice in Palestine joins NYU Divest in calling on our university to divest from the fossil fuel industry because universities have a responsibility to invest responsibly, and should not be complicit in violating human rights, whether that be the right to an inhabitable environment, or the right to live free of military occupation.”

Learn more: www.nooccupiedpalestine.org

Student Political Action Club

"Student PAC at NYU supports NYU Divest’s efforts to lobby NYU to sell its investments in fossil fuel companies. Because Student PAC believes that climate change is a serious threat to the sustainability of our planet, we believe that NYU should not attempt to profit from an industry that is accelerating the pace of climate change. NYU should instead immediately invest its endowment funds in energy companies that are attempting to make clean energy sources more accessible and affordable. Although NYU’s investments in fossil fuel corporations are small compared with the size of today’s energy companies, we believe that NYU can make a tremendous impact by sparking further discussion about the importance of aligning investments with moral convictions and that, in turn, this discussion will lead to more universities and corporations divesting from fossil fuel corporations."

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/studentpacatnyu

NYU Community Agriculture Club (CommAg)

“Community Agriculture Club supports the NYU Divest campaign because climate change urgently and directly affects agriculture and our community.”

Learn more: https://gardennyu.wordpress.com/

Global Media & Creative Production Club

“We support the NYU Divest campaign because we support innovators of the future. Yet the fossil fuel industry inherently threatens that very future. In this time of crisis, we call on NYU to invest responsibly.”

Students for Organ Donation Awareness

"Students for Organ Donation Awareness supports NYU Divest because we support equal opportunity to live healthily--and that begins with clean air for our clean bodies."

 

Documents & Research

ZINE: MISLEADING US TO CATASTROPHE

This zine was created by hand in September of 2016 in order to inform the NYU Community about the inconsistencies, fallacies, holes, and misinformation within the Board of Trustees' June 2016 Memorandum. We safety-pin an orange felt patch to the zine so that readers may wear their climate solidarity around campus.

Reach out to lolajusidman@gmail.com for a printable PDF and assembly instructions!

JUNE 2016 PACKET FOR ALL TRUSTEES

This packet was created by NYU Divest to be distributed to all 68 Trustees in advance of their June 2016 decision on fossil fuel divestment. On page 2 is a statement prepared by student members to be read aloud at the meeting where the decision was made. 

 

Order a t-shirt for $5! Pick up on the NYU campus.

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