Events, screenings and our petition now online

GO FOssil free UCT posterPlease sign our petition, now online, calling on UCT to divest from fossil fuels and invest in sustainable energy!

Forthcoming events (download poster)

30 September, 1pm, CS203: Screening of Do the Math, documentary about global fossil fuel divestment movement

1 Oct, 1pm, Jammie Plaza: Forum discussion of divestment with the Collective

6 October, 1pm, CS203: Screening of Do the Math, documentary about global fossil fuel divestment movement

Why should UCT divest from fossil fuels and invest in sustainable energy?

As we already know, the world’s governments have – on paper – committed to keeping global warming beneath an average 2 degrees, at most. You may not know that that level of warming already holds enormous dangers for Africa in particular. What’s more, if fossil fuel companies burn all their current declared reserves of oil, gas and coal, we would greatly overshoot that target – pushing global warming well beyond dangerous levels. Governments are nowhere close to matching their declared targets with sufficient actions.

The world’s investors – like UCT’s endowment fund – now face a choice: either invest in fossil fuels, and be complicit in what is increasingly recognised as a crime against future generations. Or scale back fossil fuel investments, particularly in favour of reinvestment in renewable energy and other sustainable industries. Yet UCT, despite being a declared centre of excellence in climate change research, effectively endorses the first choice – because the university is at present invested in fossil fuels.

Over the past two years, a campaign for fossil fuel divestment has begun on literally hundreds of campuses around the world. Thirteen universities, hundreds of civil society organisations, and cities like Seattle have already decided to divest.

In New York this week as the UN held an emergency summit on climate change, hundreds of organisations and individuals, including the Rockefellers and the Church of Sweden, announced a new commitment to withdraw a collective $50 billion from fossil fuels.

But Graça Machel, our UCT chancellor, told the UN  “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today. The scale is much more than we have achieved.” (Read the full text of her address.)

So – UCT has an amazing opportunity to become a leader in an international campaign that will go down in history. The question is, how quickly will you and the leaders of the university respond? Will UCT be a responsive, compassionate and visionary leader, or will future generations hold us responsible for funding organisations and businesses that are destroying Earth as a safe habitat for humanity?

For more about the events in New York, see:

• Union of Concerned Scientists Supports Fossil Fuel Divestment

• Heirs to Rockefeller oil fortune divest from fossil fuels over climate change

• Climate change summit: world leaders told to ‘step up ambition’

• Five ways Ban Ki-moon’s summit has changed international climate politics forever

For an insight into the lives of people staring down the barrel of devastating climate change, please watch this short video about the lives of the islanders of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean.

If you’d like to explore the world of climate modelling, and how we know we can broadly trust the science of climate change, see this TED talk by climatologist Gavin Schmidt.

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