Press Release

World’s leading researchers join students in demanding divestment from fossil fuels

22nd October, Kensington: Over 100 academics and alumni from UNSW join students in demanding that the university pull out of investments in the fossil fuel industry.

In a letter released today they argue that continued investment in fossil fuels runs counter to the university’s own investment policy which states, ‘UNSW should be seen as a socially responsible investor’ and ‘the University will not knowingly and directly invest in an organisation that operates at the expense of the environment’.

“There is a great opportunity for the incoming Vice-Chancellor, Ian Jacobs, to show the initiative and his commitment to educating the next generation who will be living in a carbon constrained world” said Environment Officer Nicholas Gurieff, from the UNSW Student Representative Council.

The letter is signed by academics from across the spectrum of research and teaching at UNSW. Signatories include medical doctors and Members of the Order of Australia, world renowned climate scientists and renewable energy engineering researchers.

The researchers acknowledge the part that UNSW plays through cutting edge R&D, with a record breaking solar car and world leading solar panel technology, along with educating the next generation. They want to see their university take a leading role in addressing climate change through institutional action as well.

“Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the rate we are threatens us all. Thankfully research at UNSW has provided solutions to many issues we face, but we need to accelerate the pace of change”, said Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf, from the Institute of Environmental Studies.

The UNSW divestment campaign is part of the fastest growing divestment movement in history. A number of institutions have already committed to sell shares in fossil fuel companies. Divestment has begun at universities such as ANU, Stanford, University of Glasgow and financial institutions including UniSuper, HESTA, AMP Capital, and in the US, the philanthropic Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

This letter comes off the back of polling conducted recently by Arc @ UNSW that found the university community was overwhelmingly in favour of divestment.

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