Philanthropies Pledge $50b Fossil Fuel Divestment

Philanthropies Pledge  $50b Fossil Fuel Divestment
Philanthropies Pledge  $50b Fossil Fuel Divestment

The Rockefellers, who made their vast fortune on oil, and other philanthropies and high-wealth individuals on Monday announced pledges to divest a total of $50 billion from fossil fuel investments.

Since the divestment movement launched three years ago, some 650 individuals and 180 institutions, including 50 new foundations, which hold over $50 billion in total assets, pledged to divest from fossil fuels over five years using a variety of approaches. One of the signatories is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Reuters quoted Stephen Heintz, an air of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, as saying the move to divest away from fossil fuels would be in line with his wishes.

Since January 2014, commitments by campuses, churches, cities, states, hospitals, pension funds, and others in the United States and elsewhere doubled, from 74 to 180, according to philanthropic giving consultancy Arabella Advisors. One of the higher profile education institution divestments came in May, when Stanford University said it will no longer use any of its $18.7 billion endowment to invest in coalmining companies. While some smaller liberal colleges have made divestment announcements, some larger institutions have been reluctant. The University of California voted last week to maintain its investments in fossil fuels, frustrating a student-led effort to divest its portfolio in oil, natural gas and coal.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid figure who has been a strong voice on the need for economic divestments, will add to Monday’s announcements in a recorded video announcement in which he will call for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration.

“We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow, for there will be no tomorrow,” Tutu said.