COP20: Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Launches Global Day of Action

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Hoda Baraka, 350.org Global Communications Manager, hoda@350.org

COP20: Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Launches Global Day of Action

GLOBAL - Today the Fossil Free campaign, which has spearheaded the movement to divest from fossil fuels since it began in 2012, launched “Global Divestment Day,” a worldwide day of action beginning on February 13th.

“The fossil fuel divestment movement has grown quickly over the last two years--now it’s going global,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org. “From the United States to Germany, from South Africa to the Pacific Islands, people are standing up and challenging the power of the fossil fuel industry. We know that fossil fuels are the past and clean energy is the future.”

Thus far, 181 institutions and local governments alongside thousands of individuals representing over $50 billion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels. According to a study by Oxford University, the fossil fuel divestment movement is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign in history and presents a far reaching threat to the fossil fuel industry’s bottom-line.

The Global Divestment Day will build on momentum from last September’s People’s Climate March, which brought together over 400,000 people in the streets of New York City and hundreds of thousands more around the world. Organizers see divestment as a key strategy in the lead up to next year’s UN Climate Talks in Paris, as well.

“Divestment serves as a key tool in moving the world beyond fossil fuels and towards renewable energy,” said Payal Parekh, 350.org Global Managing Director. “The divestment movement is modeling what governments need to be doing: withdrawing funds from the problem and investing in solution. That’s the best way to ensure a brighter future for both people and planet.”

The actions during the Global Divestment Day will be wide-ranging and diverse. Individuals are gearing up to close their accounts with banks and pension funds investing in fossil fuel companies. University students are planning to hold flash-mobs, vigils, sit-ins and rallies calling upon their endowments to invest in a liveable future. Faith leaders and people living on the frontline of climate change are banding together to urge their communities to divest from climate destruction. Together, all these people around the world will make one message loud and clear: it’s time to make fossil fuels history.

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REGIONAL QUOTES:

UNITED STATES

Jay Carmona, US Community Divestment Campaign Manager: "In the United States, fossil fuel divestment is a way to wield power and influence on behalf of ordinary people without the resources of a multi-billion dollar industry. Together with people from several continents, students and community members across the U.S. will join with one voice to demand that pension funds and university endowments divest their fossil fuel holdings immediately, to help combat the threat of climate change. We're gearing up to make this a day of national and international significance, and build on the success of the People's Climate March by pushing divestment as a powerful and accessible tool to defend our climate."

AUSTRALIA

Charlotte Wood 350.org Australia Campaigns Director: “As Australia's political leaders stand up for the fossil fuel industry, the divestment movement is standing up for everyone and everything who is oppressed by it - local communities, clean air, land and water, and a safe climate. This movement will not be stopped. Divestment has in its sights nothing short of a just, clean and safe future for all."

EUROPE

Áile Javo, President of the Saami Council, Sweden: “Indigenous people around the world are threatened by climate change. We, the Saami, are standing up for our human rights in solidarity with other frontline communities, and we call on public institutions to stand with us. We demand that public money supports solutions that safeguard a livable planet instead of funding fossil fuels that rob us of our livelihoods.”

AFRICA

Ferrial Adam, 350.org Africa-Arab World Team Leader: "Just as we supported sanctions against apartheid South Africa so too must we support divestment from fossil fuels in Africa. This fight is also about our future and the future of our children. A future where we have clean energy and water to survive and where our energy supply does not cost the earth.

CANADA

Emilia Belliveau-Thompson, Divest Dal, Dalhousie University in Halifax: "We gave our university everything it needed to be a leader on climate change. Instead, the board decided to side with a dying industry. Instead, the board has shown that our future simply isn't worth it. Divest Dal will continue to move forward alongside all of those who are fighting for climate justice and we will do so from a place of love and hope."

EAST ASIA

May Macapobre, Farmers Development Center, Philippines: "The need to move beyond fossil fuels towards renewable energy becomes imperative for people living in the vulnerable parts of the world. Earlier this month was the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan and the people of the Philippines are still searching for justice. This serves as a strong reminder why governments of the developed world need to be withdrawing its financial investments from dirty energy and investing in solutions.”

PACIFIC ISLANDS

Kathy Jetnil Kiljner, spokesperson for Pacific Islands Divestment campaign: “With everything at stake in the face of climate change for our islands, we have to take every necessary step to protect our island homes; the divestment campaign has its place in the Pacific. What we are calling for are institutions and organizations to move their investments from the fossil fuel industry to more renewable and cleaner sources of energy.”

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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.

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