Two US colleges withdraw support for fossil fuels

Two prominent American colleges are re-examining their energy investment policies thanks to a national climate change campaign

Two prominent American colleges have ended investment in fossil fuels in response to a campaign run by the group 350.org, which has been touring the United States raising awareness of climate change issues.

Unity College in Maine and Hampshire College in Massachusetts will both withdraw financial support to what Unity College president Stephen Mulkey calls a “destructive” industry.

“The time is long overdue for all investors to take a hard look at the consequences of supporting an industry that persists in employing a destructive business model,” he said.

“Because of its infrastructure and enormous economic clout, fossil fuel corporations could pump trillions into the development of alternative energy.”

The 350.org group, which was founded in 2008 by author and environmental activist Bill McKibben, has run a series of campaigns and action across the world warning members of the public about the impact of global warming.

Last year it visited schools and colleges in the US to encourage students to change the policies on investing in fossil fuels.

“After voting in record numbers in 2012, students are seizing on divestment as a strategy to put climate firmly on the political agenda,” said Maura Cowley, executive director of the Energy Action Coalition, another campaign partner.

“Young people don’t just want schools to divest themselves from the fossil fuel industry, they also want their political leaders to untangle themselves from these corporations that are wrecking our future.”

The group has also created a blacklist of companies that they say should not be invested in.

To be taken off the blacklist, 350.org asks offenders to stop exploring new fossil fuel sources and to stop lobbying the US government against emission policies.

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