UNC-Chapel Hill should divest its endowment from the ‘Filthy Fifteen’–the worst major U.S. coal mining and coal-fired utility companies–over the next five years.
The Sierra Student Coalition and Campus Y urge UNC students to vote YES on the coal divestment referendum in student body elections on Feb. 12.
Interested in campaign volunteering opportunities? Email Jasmine Ruddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If UNC wants to maintain its leadership on sustainability, we can’t invest our endowment in the dirtiest fossil fuel driving global climate change. Students don’t want their educations to be subsidized by investments that are wrecking the planet.
Divestment draws a moral line in the sand on the defining issue of the next century: climate change. Climate disruption’s impact on extreme weather, droughts, wildfires, sea level rise and food shortages amounts to a growing human rights crisis and national security threat.
As NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg said after Superstorm Sandy, “If we could get rid of coal as a basic energy source in America, you would make more of a difference in the amount of greenhouse gases that we spew into the air than any other ten things put together.”
These companies’ insistence on mining and burning coal means their bottom line is in direct opposition to efforts to address climate change. There’s no such thing as clean coal.
Divestment is part of a sweeping national youth movement: students at more than 200 colleges and universities are pressing for divestment from coal and other fossil fuels.
Coal is a dangerous, risky investment. It’s not something the University should defend keeping in its endowment portfolio. Natural gas, renewable energy and EPA regulations have made coal less attractive to investors.
Coal divestment will NOT negatively impact UNC’s investment returns. A recent analysis by the Aperio Group found that excluding the ‘Filthy Fifteen’ increases absolute portfolio risk by only 0.0005% and therefore “has no real impact on risk.”
In his inauguration speech, President Obama made clear that addressing climate change is a top priority for the next four years. Fossil fuel companies carry a “carbon bubble”—when our politicians finally do take meaningful regulatory action to prevent further climate change, their fossil fuel assets are likely to be stranded in the ground where they belong.
UNC is not taking this issue seriously despite more than 3,000 student petitions supporting coal divestment. We need Chancellor Thorp, UNC Management Company and the alumni who govern the University’s endowment to take this leadership stance on climate change.