Is the University of California really going “fossil free”?

Not so fast, argue some of our members in this op-ed piece, also mentioned on Cronkite News, and the UCSD Triton News.

The crux, they say, is a quote by the Chief Investment Officer of UC: “We don’t look at oil and gas as a goal that has to be accomplished by a certain amount, to reduce a certain amount of investment. We look at it as financial risk or a financial opportunity.” Public video of him saying this can be seen here.

The authors go on: “It is clear that this is not yet a commitment to divest, it is instead de-risking. It means the university can, and surely will, buy back fossil fuel investments any time they are attractive. Even now, we cannot evaluate the claim that the “entire investment portfolio is fossil free.” This is because many kinds of investments are exposed to fossil fuels. What is needed is a fully transparent listing, such as we are now requesting via committees of the academic senate, of all the University’s investments in companies involved in the exploration, extraction, transportation, refining and utilization of fossil fuels.”

We at the Green New Deal at UCSD call on the Regents to instruct the Chief Financial Officer to:

  • provide full transparency on fossil fuel related investments, past, present and future
  • if not already done, divest from all funds that are exposed to fossil fuels, both equity and bonds, direct and indirect, public and private, and in all companies involved in the exploration, extraction, transportation, and refining of fossil fuels
  • never to reinvest in the future.