How $6 trillion of fossil fuel investments got dumped thanks to green campaigners

*How $6 trillion of fossil fuel investments got dumped thanks to green campaigners * June 7, 2018 10.57am SAST Author
1. Rowan Gard
Environmental Anthropologist, University of St Andrews
Disclosure statement
Rowan Gard has received funding from the European Consortium for Pacific Studies (ECOPAS) funded by the European Union. She is affiliated with 350.org and Friends of the Earth Scotland, and has also volunteered and contributed to divestment campaigns in the US, UK and New Zealand. Partners
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It has become one of the fastest growing political campaigns in human history, surpassing similar battles against the tobacco industry and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Its logic is simple : the only way to avoid climate change and dangerous levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is for most fossil fuel reserves to stay in the ground.
Campaigners launched the fossil fuel divestment campaign in the early 2010s. Their argument was that you curb consumption of fossil fuels if you stop investing in the companies involved in extracting and burning them. Create a significant enough stigma, they argued, and this issue will shoot up the political agenda.
In the past five years or so, investment funds, public institutions and individuals have duly divested around US$6.15 trillion (£4.6 trillion) of fossil fuel assets. It has helped that the campaign attracted a number of prestigious institutions early on, including the British Medical Association, University College London, University of California, the Church of England and the World Council of Churches (representing more than a half billion Christians globally).

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