The University of Huddersfield has become the 60th university in the UK to divest from fossil fuels, joining the ranks of over a third of UK universities in ruling out such climate change -fuelling investments.
The University's policy states that "The University will not invest directly into organisations whose values do not reflect those of the University in regard to social, environmental and humanitarian concern...(including) serious and persistent environmental damage". The University recently clarified that this policy encompasses not investing in fossil fuels: “The university has no investments in fossil fue l-linked businesses and adopted an ethical investment policy some time ago which covers a range
of environmental issues."
Postgraduate student Megan Bennett from the Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign said: "We are delighted to be able to celebrate Huddersfield University's fossil free stance today. Up to 80% of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to stay within safe climate levels. If the fossil fuel industry follows its business plan, vast areas of our planet will become uninhabitable."
University alumni Gareth Savage from the Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign added: "It is important that universities and public institutions take steps away from the fossil fuel industry. With the Paris Climate Agreement, world leaders agreed that global warming must be limited to well below 2 degrees if we are to prevent catastrophic climate change. However, a recent study by Oil Change International found that we will already exceed 2 degrees of warming if all the carbon in the fossil fuel industry’s current operating wells, fields and mines is burned."
The Fossil Free Huddersfield University campaign is part of a global Fossil Free movement - including NUS' own Emissions Impossible campaign - calling on universities and other institutions to stop funding the cause of climate change. Earlier this month, New York City announced that it is divesting its $189 billion pension funds from fossil fuels. Local MPs Barry Sheerman and Thelma Walker have supported fossil free divestment in their own pension fund, by signing the Divest Parliament pledge, which is also supported by Jeremy Corbyn. The Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaign is calling on the local authority West Yorkshire Pension Fund to follow New York's lead and divest from fossil fuels.