June 2, 2014
Around 60 University of Oxford academics have used an open letter to demand the institution stops investing in fossil fuel companies.
Among the 64 signatories so far are Lord May of Oxford, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government and Gordon Clark, current director of the Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Henry Shue, professor of politics and international relations at Oxford, and one of the letter’s signatories, said: “We at Oxford like to claim the mantle of intellectual leadership…here is our opportunity to display genuine leadership when it counts.”
“We know about housing bubbles. Now we have a carbon bubble, a bubble of unreal value. It is too risky to own shares in this bubble..."
In an open letter to the university’s vice chancellor, the academics urge the world-renowned institution to join the fight to stop climate change by "ridding its £3.8 billion endowment of investments in fossil fuel companies".
The letter says that Oxford has a “responsibility to show leadership in tackling one of the greatest challenges we as a society currently face”.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report concluded that carbon-intensive energy production was the single biggest contributor to global warming.
Energy companies continue to search for new fossil fuels reserves, despite warnings from the IPCC that 80% of the reserves such companies have already claimed must never be used if dangerous climate tipping points are to be avoided.
Recent analysis by the thinktank Carbon Tracker warned that as much as $1.1 trillion (£650 billion) of investors’ money is currently at risk as a result of this.