Oil & Gas Divestment Movement Growing

by Elizabeth Alford on June 27, 2016

The University of Massachusetts adds its name to the growing list of organizations who are reject oil and gas investment.

Related: Fracking Ban: A Disaster for Texas Universities

The University of Massachusetts Foundation Board of Directors, voted unanimously in May to jettison the school’s fossil fuel assets totaling $5 million. This is the latest U.S. University to publicly cut ties with oil and gas as the divestment movement continues to gain traction.

The divestment movement has been gathering momentum with one organization claiming there are more than 500 institutions representing over $3.4 trillion in assets have made some form of divestment commitment.

Universities all around the world are coming under intense pressure by students and faculty to remove their ties to oil and gas activity in the wake of concerns over health and climate change. Cambridge University officials recently announced they was ignoring massive opposition where 2,000 students signed a petition for divestment and the students’ union council voted 33:1 in favor of divestment.

Last fall, the University of California pulled $200 million out of coal and oil sands investments, adding their name to a list of 40 other universities and colleges who have done the same including Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Washington, Syracuse, the University of Hawaii and Oxford.

At the same time, Austin-based Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and the California-based Frontier Group called for an end to oil and gas drilling on land owned by University of Texas. They claimed that 95% of the leases involve the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), threatening to hurt the environment and public health.

Earlier this year, Al Gore spoke at Harvard University and, for the second time, urged officials to tackle climate change by starting with divesting of fossil fuel assets. The short clip below is Al Gore at Harvard.

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