Global fossil fuel divestment commitments double to more than $5 trillion in a year


On Monday 12 December, a year on from the Paris Agreement, it was revealed that the divestment movement has doubled in size since September 2015.

The newly published Divest-Invest report shows that global divestment commitments have been made by 688 institutions across 76 countries, reaching an incredible $5.2 trillion of assets under management. Furthermore, asset managers controlling $1.3 trillion – a quarter of the total – have committed to increasing their investments in clean energy to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign, which began on university campuses in 2011, has now become a mainstream, global movement. The range of institutions involved includes not only universities, religious institutions and pension funds, but also health organisations, the insurance sector and cultural institutions. More than 160 religious institutions across the world have now committed to divestment.

In the UK, Quakers in Britain and the United Reformed Church Synod of Scotland have committed to full divestment from fossil fuels, while the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church (in the rest of the UK) and the Church of Scotland have committed to divest from companies involved in the extraction of coal and tar sands. In recent weeks, motions calling for full divestment from fossil fuels have been passed in Islington Deanery in the Church of England and the Central Scotland Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Welcoming the news, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “I commend today’s announcement that a growing number of investors are backing a shift away from the most carbon-intensive energy sources and into safe, sustainable energy. Investments in clean energy are the right thing to do and the smart way to build prosperity for all, while protecting our planet.”

“$5 trillion in five years is a stunning and unprecedented figure”, said Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund, as simultaneous press conferences took place in New York and London. “It represents a growth the fossil fuel industry would envy.”

Lou Allstadt, a former senior executive at Mobil Oil, said: “Divestment is speeding up the clock on the final accounting that will show fossil fuels are out and clean energy is in.”

“As the hottest year in history comes to a close, the success of the global fossil fuel divestment movement is undeniable,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org, as she announced plans for a Global Divestment Mobilisation in May 2017.

Operation Noah will partner with 350.org and others around the world from 5-13 May 2017, as we amplify the call for churches and other institutions to divest. Watch this space for more information and contact us if you would like to get involved.

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