December 21, 2012 by barnardcolumbiadivest
A list of news article relevant to fossil fuel divestment in the last week. If the world ends today, on the plus side, we don’t have to worry about climate change.
Harvard Needs Remedial Energy Math by Robert Bryce
In this op-ed, without considering how renewables will replace oil, Bryce argues that given the average yearly increase in electricity demand since 1985 and the amount of electricity that has so far been generated by wind and solar energy, a fossil fuel free future is absurd. A counter argument from Jamie Henn is that two studies (which he provides links for) have shown that at least on a regional level, this transition is possible. Considering the “scary new math” for divestment, which, as Henn points out, is not addressed by Bryce, this transition is necessary though difficult. Another thing worth mentioning is that Bryce does not consider energy conservation, other renewables such as hydro-electricty, and advances in solar panel and wind turbine designs to make them more efficient in generating electricity. One last note is that the Manhattan Institute, the organization Bryce is affiliated with, has received funding from fossil fuel companies. Still, this op-ed is worth thinking about because it at least follows what might become a common counter-argument to divestment; if the ends of divestment may not be feasible, why divest?
An update on fossil fuel divestment
A success: the mayor in the city of Seattle is divesting the city’s cash balances for daily operation ($1.4 billion) from fossil fuel companies. While the mayor does not have control of Seattle’s pension system ($1.9 billion with at least $17.6 million invested in fossil fuel companies) or employee’s investments from the city’s deferred compensation plan ($700 million), he has taken steps to hopefully have them divest from fossil fuel companies so that the city of Seattle will be completely divested from these companies.
Calif. Treasurer Eyes Pension Divestment From Gun Manufacturers
Ignoring the sidebar links, this article mentions that the California state treasurer ordered a review of the state teachers’ pension fund and possibly divest from companies that manufacture guns that cannot be sold in California in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook. It is also interesting to note that Cerebus Capital announced it would sell Freedom Group, which made one of the guns used in the shooting, perhaps in order to avoid losing investors. While this story is not directly about fossil fuel divestment, this is still highly related to it.
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