Major Setback for University Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

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By H. Sterling Burnett

The National Association of Scholars released a report in late 2015 detailing the attempt by radical environmental activist to force colleges and universities around the country to divest their endowment holdings from fossil fuel investments. As discussed in a January Environment & Climate News article, this movement is an attack on intellectual freedom that, if successful, would ultimately undermine both the financial well-being of the Universities that divest and our economy in general as fossil fuel use and the wealth it brings would damaged.

Fortunately, most universities and colleges have rejected this clarion call to embrace ludditeism. Most recently, as detailed in The Daily Caller the University of Pennsylvania (UP) rejected calls from radical environmental groups to divest its endowment of fossil fuel holdings. UP’s Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Divestment, consisting of faculty and students, announced September 22, 2016, the social costs associated with investing in fossil fuels do not amount to moral corruption. The chairman of the Board of Trustees, David Cohen, wrote in a letter to Fossil Free Penn, one of the groups demanding UP divest its holdings in fossil fuels, the purported “moral evil” protesters linked to oil companies like ExxonMobil does not rise to a level “on par with apartheid or genocide.”

“While the Trustees recognize that the ‘bar’ of moral evil presents a rigorously high barrier of consideration, we are resolute in our belief that such a high barrier must be maintained so that investment decisions and the endowment are not used for the purpose of making public policy statements,” Cohen wrote.

Stanford also rejected divestment, so at least in some fronts on the climate war, there is some good news in the form of common sense being displayed by at least some college administrators.

[First posted at the Freedom Pub.]