Half of UK universities have committed to divest from fossil fuel

(The Guardian, 13 Jan 2020) 78 out of 154 universities joined campaign in blow to big oil’s ‘social licence’, campaigners say.

Half of UK universities have signed up to divest from fossil fuels in what campaigners say is a significant blow to the “social licence” of big oil.

Seventy-eight of the UK’s 154 public universities have joined the divestment campaign, either divesting or pledging to divest hundreds of millions from the fossil fuel industry.

Although some of the universities have only withdrawn from certain fossil fuels – such as tar sands or coal – others have already divested from all fossil fuels as part of what campaigners say it is an accelerating process of delegitimisation of the industry.

Chris Saltmarsh from the campaign group People & Planet said excluding the industry from universities was now “a mainstream and majority position”.

“That universities across the sector are now divesting so fully and quickly demonstrates how far the fossil fuel industry’s social license has been eroded over the last seven years. It is increasingly common sense on UK campuses that these companies can play no productive role in solving the climate crisis.”

Saltmarsh warned that those institutions that held out against divestment would be harshly judged by history.

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The Guardian, 13 Jan 2020: Half of UK universities have committed to divest from fossil fuel