The Strategy to End Fossil Fuel Investment

With the recent move by the Commonwealth Bank to end it’s investment ties to Adani’s Galilee coal proposals, it seems that various divestment strategies are starting to gain traction in Australia and around the world. The Commonwealth Bank’s decision was received with celebration, including an event that Melbourne climate activists staged, coined the “End of Coal” parade on August 13.

end of coal parade

Although the cheeky action did not stop there. A group of environmentally concerned heavenly figures called the ‘climate guardians’ proceeded to get their message across to The University of Melbourne on their big ‘open day’. The Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis, tried to defend the University by saying that they do not invest in fossil fuels, although Fossil Free MU had reached a different conclusion:

“On both occasions, he insisted that the University does not invest in fossil fuels. We pointed out that the University does have shareholdings in these companies via their external fund, managed by the Victorian Funds Management Corporation- something that Professor Davis is well aware of. They own these shares and they are responsible for them. 

The last time one of our campaigners ran into Glyn, he tried to peddle the same nonsense.” See ‘Set the record straight Glyn‘ for Fossil Free MU’s direct response to this incident.

UOM Vice chacellor

RMIT University is also the focus of a campaign with Fossil Free RMIT putting the pressure on from all angles. Fossil Free RMIT recently had its own success with the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies voting to join their efforts to convince the uni to divest.

GUSS divestment

The campaigners message is as follows:

“We call on RMIT to do the following:
  1. Publicly commit to cease any further investment in fossil fuels
  2. Publicly commit to divesting RMIT entirely from fossil fuels within the next five years
  3. Publicly report regularly on the fossil fuel exposure and carbon intensity of RMIT’s investments

We see divestment as an opportunity for RMIT to become a sustainability leader, the definition of a forward-thinking institution that truly cares about the future of its students. We also see it as a responsibility. Our responsibility to lobby the administration and do whatever we can to fight climate change, but also your responsibility, Mr Somogyi, to take the bold action that is required.”

For many young campaigners, the battle lines have been drawn in the sand and the divestment movement is in full swing. It is coal versus clean investment. There is a growing number of divestment campaigns in Australia and around the world. The majority of Australians want clean energy and action on climate, and these divestment campaigns are an echo of this sentiment.

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