Guardian Launches Campaign to keep Fossil Fuels Underground
By James Griffitts, Contributor
Keep it in the Ground is a recent campaign launched by The Guardian advocating that fossil fuels be left underground and sustainable energy sources be used instead. The campaign is centered around a petition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, the world’s two largest charitable organizations, to divest themselves of all endowments from fossil fuel companies. Over the last year, a coalition of major and minor philanthropic organizations has committed to divesting from fossil fuels. This includes the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers fund. These organizations join a growing number of Universities, faith organizations, pension funds, and local authorities who have made the same commitment. Over 280 clients of First Affirmative Financial Network have already opted for a fossil fuel free investment strategy. The cities of Seattle, San Francisco, and Oslo among many others have also committed to divesting from fossil fuels.
The Guardian’s campaign launches in the midst of mounting public concern over climate change. As more and more large organizations sign on, the pressure to move away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy sources continues to mount. In Denver, leaders in the movement for sustainability are gathering in May for a forum to discuss the divestment from fossil fuels and other sustainability issues. The conference will include over 500 leaders in the sustainable movement.
Public pressure to move away from fossil fuels continues to mount, as advocates of divestment argue that continuing widespread extraction and burning of fossil fuels is irresponsible and a threat to future generations. A recent article from the Guardian based off of new scientific findings indicates that controlling climate change will require much of the world’s fossil fuel reserves to remain unexploited. This includes one third of known global oil reserves, half of natural gas, and around 80% of coal. Because the mounting public pressure to stop burning fossil fuels has not yet reached the level necessary to stir most governments to major action, the Guardian and others in pushing for sustainability have focused their efforts on divestment by non-governmental organizations. This strategy has led to a growing number of organizations of all kinds pledging to divest from fossil fuels. As more and more people and institutions throw their support behind the divestment movement, the costs, especially those associated with public image, of continuing to exploit fossil fuels will rise both for major oil and gas companies, and their investors. The push to move away from unsustainable fuel will only gain more support in the upcoming years, and the results could be a new sustainable energy strategy worldwide.
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Posted: April 22, 2015