In the wake of the state of emergency declared around the Porter Ranch gas leak and lack of accountability found in the Paris Climate Deal, Fossil Free UC urges the University of California drops all of its current fossil fuel investments.
Students representing Fossil Free UC from many different UC campuses are attending the January UC regents meeting on January 21st to demand that their institution joins the call for climate justice by divesting the university’s endowment fund from the top 200 dirtiest fossil fuel companies. These powerful industries are driving climate change and largely responsible for the lack of adequate action on it. “After experiencing dishonesty and suppression by our members of the administration, we are bringing our issue back to the real decisions makers and urge Regent Wachter to action by meeting with us and moving forward in addressing divestment as a way to help change the political landscape and face the urgency of the climate crisis,” says Cormac Martinez del Rio, a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate.
It is now more important than ever that the UC take a stance against the fossil fuel industry and its proponents, in light of the passage of the climate pact that UN leaders ratified in December. UC Santa Cruz alumna and staff member Margaux Schindler explains, “a lot of us were waiting for COP21 to set hard lines for how we use and think about fossil fuels. When fossil fuels weren’t even part of the rhetoric used in the final draft of the deal, I realized we can’t wait for someone else to draw those lines. That’s why we are at the regents meeting, making connections and pushing our way into the decision makers’ spaces.”
This comes after Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency over the Porter Ranch gas leak and after over four years of Fossil Free UC campaigning and the subsequent decision of the UC’s Chief Investment Officer announcement in September last year that the university would divest from coal and tar sands companies. UC student Sam Weinstein says, “The Porter Ranch gas leak is the latest example of a poorly regulated industry exploiting and endangering communities around the world and in California. Despite some commitments the UC has made up to this point, their continued investments in gas and oil companies perpetuate an unjust energy system that must undergo rapid changes if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.”
Claire Morrison, a UC Berkeley undergraduate, says “Regent Wachter and the Committee on Investments have a choice between protecting vulnerable communities from exploitation or funding their destruction. We want to know if they will help us build a resilient portfolio that also aligns with the foundational values of higher education or put our very future at risk.”
Fossil Free UC plan to engage with Regent Wachter and the Committee on Investments if they show commitment to moving forward with divestment after this meeting and will continue to push for full divestment through direct action and other means.
WHAT: January Regents Meeting mobilization
WHEN: Thursday, January 21, 8:30-10:00am
WHERE: Mission Bay Conference Center – 1675 Owens Street San Francisco, CA 94143
WHO: Fossil Free UC campaigners and you!