For seven months the fossil fuel divestment movement has been conducting efforts to convince colleges, universities, hedge funds, and even religions to divest their company or institutional investment holdings of fossil fuel-related investments. The effort has made some headway with the University of London, England recently announcing they would sell off investments in fossil fuel related companies over a period of three years.
However, Nature reports that not all colleges are keen to the campaign’s goals. New York University (NYU), Harvard and Swathmore College rejected proposals for fossil fuel divestment. Even if the fossil fuel divestment movement is successful in getting institutions to pull out of their fossil fuel investments it will have minimal effect on using fossil fuels for energy and greenhouse gas emissions. One economist at Stanford University questioned the overall movement essentially stating it is hypocritical to demonize the consumption of something used every day.
Yet the result is not embracing fossil fuels just changing tactics. Despite NYU’s rejection of fossil fuel divestment, the university’s senate made up of students, faculty and administrators urge the board of trustees to not to put further money into fossil-fuel companies, and instead to develop a plan to invest in firms that “demonstrate a commitment to mitigate the effects of burning fossil fuels”. Yale and Stanford Universities announced plans to implement an internal carbon tax in hopes of reducing their carbon emissions and would encourage other colleges and universities to do the same.
In theory a carbon tax is supposed to reduce emissions since it is supposed to force people and companies to curb their fossil fuel consumption. In reality it is only a penalty for energy consumption. Back in July Australia repealed its carbon tax essentially for that very reason in which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot called the tax useless and destructive. The fossil fuel divestment movement has only hit roadblocks and the fact that other institutions of higher learning are changing tactics while subscribing to the core of what the movement stands for demonstrates the sad state of academia in this day and age.
Fossil fuels enable people to have access to clean, inexpensive energy but efforts like the fossil fuel divestment movement and its environmentalist counterparts are completely antithetical to that idea. Even climate change activists have dismissed fossil fuel divestment stating it is more of a feel good effort but int he end achieves nothing. The fossil fuel divestment movement got its idea from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is anti-Semitic due to its hostility to Israel. The BDS effort is not only anti-Semitic but anti-civilization since the effort behind it seeks to demonize the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Israel) that reflects the values of the freedom and recognition of individual rights that it shares with the United States. Fossil fuel divestment is also anti-civilization since it attacks civilization on another front by demonizing industry which is the one thing that keeps us in the West productive and prosperous.