(Vatican Radio) A Catholic university in the United States has announced its decision to begin divesting coal and fossil fuels from its investment portfolio. The University of Dayton, a Marianist University, is believed to be the first Catholic university in the nation to take the step.
“I think that first of all, when you look at the whole issue of sustainability, it’s coming to the forefront in the country… amongst our students it’s a very important issue,” said Dr Daniel J. Curran, president of the University of Dayton. “But when we looked at some of the positions of the Church in general, and the University’s stated mission, it became very important.”
The Norwegian Parliament has just ordered its $A1.15 trillion Sovereign Wealth Fund to divest from coal. This represents the largest single divestment from fossil fuels in human history, and our biggest sign yet that the age of coal is over and the financial case for investing in fossil fuels is likely to disintegrate.
Georgetown University’s board of directors voted to divest the school’s endowment from coal companies Thursday, a move that fell short of students’ hopes for divestment from all fossil fuel companies.
Students staged a sit-in on campus in the lead-up to the board meeting to press the school’s board of directors to vote in favor of divesting from fossil fuels. They were disappointed by the board’s final decision — coal makes up only a small portion of the board’s total investments, they said, and as a Jesuit institution, Georgetown has a moral obligation to divest from fossil fuels.
According to a Sept. 2013 New York Times report, it would take a global temperature increase of two degrees Celsius to cause drastic and irreparable climate changes. Around 2040, the report estimated the trillionth ton of fossil fuels will be burned, at which point companies will need to figure out a way to capture and store their carbon emissions to avoid going over the two-degree threshold.
Climate Justice at Boston College (CJBC), an unregistered student organization, has been attempting to convince the University’s administration to divest from fossil fuels. Currently, it is hoping to attract the support of other students and alumni who are unhappy with the University’s endowment’s being partially invested in fossil fuel companies. When describing its efforts, CJBC posits a positive correlation between fossil fuel consumption and rising temperatures.
The end of the second annual climate change conference at Loyola University Chicago began a transition to a new action phase extending beyond U.S. borders.
The conference, which ran March 19-21, saw the six participant upper Midwest Jesuit universities sharing curricular ideas and resources, with an eye toward developing the best educational practices and forming a strong collaborative force for sustainability and addressing environmental issues in the years ahead. On the conference’s final day, its host Nancy Tuchman, director of Loyola-Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, announced the schools would collectively, as Jesuit institutions that are part of a larger network, “develop a statement that gives a common voice to Jesuit concern for the planet with a call to action.”
“We are going to conduct an intervention,” yelled Alyssa Florack, A&S ’17. In her background stood approximately 45 people, holding signs urging Boston College to divest in fossil fuels. Friday afternoon, a group of students participated in a Valentine’s Day-themed rally and vigil organized by Climate Justice at Boston College (CJBC). The rally started at 3 p.m. in O’Neill Plaza. From there, participants walked across Stokes Lawn, up onto College Rd., and finally reached the office of University President William P. Leahy S.J. on Mayflower Rd.