The University of California announced Tuesday that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, making it the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.
The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.
The movement against fossil fuels has mushroomed to encompass more than 1,100 faith, educational, government, corporate and nonprofit institutions with $14 trillion in assets in the last decade, according to 350.org, a global climate justice organization. Among them, more than 50 universities have committed to full or partial divestment.
In 2011, Hampshire College in Massachusetts became the first campus to shed its investment portfolio of fossil fuels. Since then, campus movements have increased, with Harvard faculty voting this year to support disinvestment and Georgetown University committing to completing it by 2030. Berkeley’s “arch-rival” Stanford University expects to make a decision on the issue by next month, a spokesman said.