NEW HAVEN – Fossil Free Yale, UNITE HERE Local 33, and allies today delivered signatures from over 1,000 members of Yale community to President Peter Salovey demanding Yale divest from fossil fuels.
The petition calls on Yale to shed hundreds of millions of dollars in fossil fuel assets and to sign the “We Are Still In” pledge, in which 2,500 leaders in Connecticut and across the country explicitly challenge Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The coalition delivered the petition on the day that Yale’s School of Management hosted a “We Are Still In” workshop. While Yale is hosting the event, the University itself refuses to sign the “We Are Still In” pledge.
“Donald Trump has abandoned Paris and any effort to address climate change,” said Local 33 Co-Chair Robin Canavan. “I’m a climate scientist. I understand how important it is that Yale and other leading institutions in our country take up that challenge. Making hundreds of millions of dollars of new investments in the fossil fuel industry undermines its credibility as a leader in addressing the climate crisis.”
Yale currently holds $678 million worth of investments in oil, gas, and coal. A public declaration of intention to decrease fossil fuel investments, meanwhile, has led to only $10 million of divestment over several years. Yale’s current investments, uncovered by Fossil Free Yale and Local 33, include an investment in Whitehaven Coal, a coal-mining company, and over $200 million in Antero Resources Corporation and its subsidiaries, one of the fastest growing fracking companies in the United States.
“While elite institutions like Yale are making millions of dollars in profit from fossil fuels, the poorest people in the world are the ones who will be the first to bear the costs of climate change,” added Fossil Free Yale leader, Mary Claire Whelan. “That is the true cost of Yale’s climate inaction. As leaders across the world met in Bonn, Germany, to address the climate crisis and the progress on Paris, we collected over 1,000 signatures on campus in three weeks.”
Whelan explained that “Fossil Free Yale has been working to get Yale to divest from fossil fuels since 2013. We conducted hundreds of hours of research, and submitted rigorous reports as requested by Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. In 2016, when Yale announced a divestment from fossil fuels of less than $10 million, we thought we were making progress. But then Yale refused to divest from Exxon Mobil, which has supported climate denialism for decades, and we discovered that they had made more than $300 million in new oil and gas investments at the same time.”