2 More Days to COP21

Greetings from youth around the world attending Conference of Youth (COY11) at TOKYO

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How are you guys doing?
It’s just two days before COP21,
I hope as busy as you are,
you’ll stay healthy and will make some time to follow up on this event with us =)

Climate Change is real and will effect every single inhabitants on earth.
To fight climate change is not the responsible of governments and world leaders alone,
and we all need to be part of it.
As of today, let’s learn  a bit on divestment movement which had been prepared by Yen.

DIVESTMENT MOVEMENT

Divestment movement is a campaign rooted in US campuses to advocate various institutions and individuals from everywhere to pull together their financial investments (in term of stocks, bonds and investment funds) from fossil energy (coal, gas and oil) related firms which deemed to be the major contributor of Carbon Dioxide (one of the greenhouse gases), in order to tackle climate change issue. Now, the movement has spread across many parts of the world especially in Europe, with a record of $50bn divested so far, according to US Fossil Free campaign. More than 220 institutions (namely universities, faith organizations, local authorities, pension funds and foundations) have now committed to divest from fossil fuels since the climate campaign launched in 2012 by 350.org. In this instance, Fossil Free lists 837 institutions and individuals as having committed to divesting.

350.org (which included power shifts movement at local levels) led by Bill McKibben is one of the pioneer organizations that is greatly dedicated in global climate movement. They launch online campaign, grassroots organizing and mass public actions to stranded the assets and programmes of fossil energy related companies, implant awareness of climate change to the world citizens and ultimately create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all. They are even aiming to reduce the amount of caarbon dioxide in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.

Quakers and Glasgow University are among the first in Europe to commit to fossil fuel divestments, in the meantime Oxford University has ruled out direct investment in coal and tar sands, hence, this movement is considered the fastest growing divestment campaign in history. The movement correspondences including the heirs of Rockefeller in withdrawing the fossil fuel investments ($60m) in the $860m Rockefeller Brothers Fund, joined with 800 global investors pledging to divest from fossil fuels in September 2014. In April 2015, the Guardian’s parent company, Guardian Media Group said it would divest its $1bn fund from all fossil fuel.

This movement might not able to concur discernible financial pressure, as in the case of Divestment movement against Apartheid of South Africa, but non-financial impact by shaping public discourse in climate change and energy security, therefore trigger the growth of renewable energy (wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, hydro and geothermal). In a long run, the movement should make sure all those committed are accountable to their commitment and follow up actions must be implemented.

In the other hand, Divestment Movement must realize that fossil fuels still playing a crucial part in 21st energy mix policy especially in various industrial sectors, being the most economical and efficient energy option. This is the main argument from Third World Countries where the standard living of huge populations are below poverty line. The other applicable approach is install CO2 catchment mechanism at the output ends, in order to reduce release of CO2 into atmosphere.

The latest (5th June 2015) and biggest divestment movement made by Norway’s Parliament has endorsed the move of selling off coal investments ($8bn) from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund, which will affect 122 companies across the world. Not only that, it will also set an example for other investors to follow. The magnitude of social and environmental impacts of this movement will be revealed in the future, the dilemma of pros and cons is a continuous challenge to humanity.

Reference:
1. 350.org
2.The Guardian
3.Harvard Political Reviews

 

By Yen, CPY

June 2015

 

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