Esteemed scientist and environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki has written a personal letter to Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto, endorsing a fossil fuel divestment campaign spearheaded by local group Toronto350.org.
For over a year, Toronto350.org has been building support for divestment of the University of Toronto’s endowment fund from fossil fuel companies. The group has produced a 190 page brief detailing the urgency posed by climate change and reasons why divestment is an effective and necessary response to the global threat of climate destabilization.
In his letter to the President, Dr. Suzuki asserts that climate change "represents a threat to human survival second only to all out nuclear war". However, he blames "economic downturns and a campaign of disinformation heavily financed by the fossil fuel industry" for having "blunted the sense of urgency among our political leaders".
Suzuki also highlights the significant financial risk posed by investments in the fossil fuel industry. He states that in order to avoid a 2 degree rise in global temperatures "all calculations suggest that we can only burn a small fraction of our known reserves and leave the rest in the ground". If policy shifts to reflect this commitment, as agreed to by Canada and 140 other nations at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the vast majority of the fossil fuel reserves will not realize any returns.
He goes on to say, "I personally feel that the issue of responsibility to future generations overrides all others, but so long as discussions are bound by economic considerations, I think there is a powerful case to be made for divestment".
To read the full letter visit http://toronto350.org/divest/support.php. To find out more about the brief and the University of Toronto Divestment Campaign at http://toronto350.org/divest/ and learn more about divestment across Canada at www.gofossilfree.ca.