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Bristol University divests from fossil fuels, and why it matters

Wednesday 08-03-2017 - 15:59


As Donald Trump’s administration erases climate change information from all its communications, a climate change denier is appointed to head up the Environmental Protection Agency and 2016 is both the hottest and coldest year on record, the need for concerted action to protect our future becomes more and more urgent.


Their campaign was not just about the money ... but sending a strong message that profiting from companies that wreck the climate is unacceptable


Far from despairing at this sorry state of affairs, campaigns such as Fossil Free, which ask institutions to dump their investments in the fossil fuel industry, are becoming more relevant, and also ever more urgent.  


So today Bristol SU, which has supported the Fossil Free campaign, are pleased to announce that the University of Bristol is divesting from fossil fuels.  This deal includes:

  • Dumping investments in companies extracting coal and tar sands within the year
  • Reviewing investments in companies extracting oil and gas annually, gradually removing them depending on their polluting potential
  • Investing three million pounds into a green fund


Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean full divestment, how far the policy goes will depend on how it is interpreted.  Crucially, we have secured student representatives on the panel reviewing these investments every year, allowing us democratic input into where our money is going.


This announcement is welcomed by the Fossil Free Bristol Uni Society after three years of campaigning, petitioning, researching, event organising, negotiating and getting creative. Their campaign was not just about the money (Exxon Mobil won’t be going broke overnight), but sending a strong message that profiting from companies that wreck the climate is unacceptable and it’s time the government and Universities get tough on climate change.  It also shows those who care about the environment can put their money where their mouth is and invest in the future they want to see.


So, a huge well done to all who have been involved.  If we can’t trust our leaders to do the job themselves, this kind of grassroots action is exactly what is needed, now more than ever, to fight for a better world. If you want to start a campaign to make the University of Bristol a better place, then get in touch with the Students’ Union to find out how we can support you.


What next for the Fossil Free Bristol Uni society?  It doesn’t stop here. We will continue to be involved with the University, helping to decide on a new fund manager and asking difficult questions about our investments.  There is much more to be done, from asking individuals to move their money, to setting up renewable energy projects.  To get involved, join the Fossil Free society and be a part of the conversation.


Join the celebration party at the Robin Hood pub on St Michael’s Hill, tonight at 7pm - all welcome!



Officer blogs, Sustainability

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Bristol SU, Bristol University, Officer Blog, Stephen Le Fanu, divestment, oil, climate change, fossil free, sustainability,

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