The Case For Divesting From Fossil Fuel Companies
What’s the Latest Development?
A growing number of businesses and institutions have been selling their stocks in fossil fuel companies in recent months, heralding a movement that writer Bill McKibben hopes will spread far and wide: “[I]t’s one of the few ways for concerned people and institutions to take a stand on climate change, and confront the enormous power of the fossil fuel industry.” Putting them completely out of business may not be possible, but if enough participate, perhaps they could be persuaded to change their focus. He says, “We have to take the hundred million dollars a day that Exxon spends on finding new oil, and have them spend it on solar panels instead.”
What’s the Big Idea?
More than enough science has been presented that shows the current and potentially catastrophic future consequences of human-generated climate change, yet fossil fuel companies and their government lobbyists are showing no real signs of changing course. Last year, Bishop Desmond Tutu called for divestment, noting the significant role that strategy played in undermining the political power of South Africa’s apartheid regime 25 years ago. McKibben says that making this strategy work for such a wealthy industry won’t be easy, but “[i]t makes no sense to pay for one’s pension by investing in companies that make sure we won’t have a planet to retire on.”
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