Fossil Fuel Divestment Is Hitting the Mainstream

Canadian Universities Facing Increasing Pressure to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Toronto, ON—Earlier this week, former Bank of Canada governor and current Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that action on climate change could seriously constrain the ability of fossil fuel companies to burn their proven reserves. He told a World Bank seminar that the “vast majority of reserves are unburnable” when it comes to fossil fuels.

“For Mark Carney, the former Bank of Canada head, to be raising the alarm on the carbon bubble is a big deal,” said Toronto350org President Stuart Basden. “It shows that more and more, the financial mainstream is waking up to the reality that high-carbon fuels are risky investments.”

Carney’s comments came only weeks after the Rockeller Brothers Fund, the legacy of John D. Rockefeller’s oil fortune, announced that it would be divesting from fossil fuels, another milestone that divestment campaigners point to as an indication of divestment starting to impact the mainstream.

“The Rockefeller family founded one of the first major oil companies in history, and for their foundation to now commit to divest from fossil fuels is a sign that things are changing,” said Ben Donato-Woodger, Toronto350.org Operations Director.

Canadian politicians have also started to ask questions about divestment and the carbon bubble, with opposition Environment Critic Megan Leslie recently raising the issue in Question Period.

“Divestment has already made its way into our universities, churches, and public institutions, and now it’s making its way into the House of Commons,” said Basden. “Clearly momentum is building.”

To date, three churches across Canada have committed to divest from fossil fuels and there are over 30 campaigns on campuses across the country, but no school has yet to divest.

“We’ve seen referendums on divestment pass with huge majorities, hundreds of faculty sign on to endorse divestment, and now we are seeing the topic enter the political and financial mainstream,” said Amelia Rose Khan, Outreach Director at Toronto350.org. “Students, faculty and alumni are continuing to build pressure on universities across Canada to divest, and it’s only a matter of time until our schools get on the right side of history and divest.”

Divestment organizers from across Canada are gathering this November for the first ever Student Divestment Convergence in Montreal to strategize, share skills and prepare to build the divestment movement across Canada.

Toronto350.org is a growing group of dedicated volunteers working to reduce climate destabilization. They are a network affiliate of 350.org—an international environmental group, founded by writer Bill McKibben, which is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

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