Harvard University Latest to Join Fossil Fuel Divestment Cohort

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Harvard University announced Thursday it will no longer invest in fossil fuels, making it the most recent of several higher education institutions to divest in the nonrenewable energy source.

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who has publicly opposed fossil fuel divestment in the past, wrote in a school statement that the university’s investments in the nonrenewable fuel industry “are in runoff mode” and emphasized the “need to decarbonize the economy.”

In April 2020, Harvard announced it would begin monitoring investments in its portfolio in order to achieve an endowment that reflects net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The move came after several months of activism from student groups such as Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard.

Research shows that burning fossil fuels at the current rate will raise the Earth’s temperature and cause even more irreversible climate change damage than previously thought.

Multiple schools recently announced cutting ties with fossil fuel investments, including the University of California, Yale University, Rutgers University, American University, Seattle University, Brown University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Middlebury College, and more.

However, some schools like Boston College have remained firm on their reliance on the nonrenewable energy industry despite student criticism.

“This is what they told us for a decade they couldn’t do, and today, the students, faculty, and alumni have been vindicated,” Connor Chung, a Harvard student and member of Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, told The Harvard Crimson.