Scientists and Laureates Urge Nobel Prize to Divest from Fossil Fuels

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Melanie Mattauch, melanie@350.org

Scientists and Laureates Urge Nobel Prize to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Prize winners argue climate-destroying investments conflict with Alfred Nobel’s will

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Nobel prize winners and scientists urge the Nobel Foundation to divest its $420 million endowment from fossil fuels in a letter released today, ahead of the Nobel Prize 2016 ceremonies this Saturday. They argue that the institution ‘should not profit from the destruction of our planet’s climate’.

Among the 14 laureates that signed the letter are renowned scientists such as atmospheric chemist Paul Josef Crutzen, physicist David Wineland and biologist Sir John Sulston, and several winners of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize including Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, Yemeni women’s rights campaigner Tawakkol Karman and Argentinian human rights and peace activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. The letter has also been signed by eminent scientific contributors to the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). [1]

“In his will, Alfred Nobel wrote that prizes should be awarded to those who ‘shall have conferred the greatest benefit to [hu]mankind’. As laureates and scientists embracing Alfred Nobel’s final words, it is our expectation that the Nobel Foundation also act in the interest of humankind which includes caring for the health of the planet which we all rely upon,” the letter states.

Stockholm-based grassroots group Divest Nobel who initiated the call on the Nobel Foundation to cut its ties to the fossil fuel industry is organising events around this year’s Nobel prize award ceremonies in Stockholm on Saturday to keep up the pressure.

The letter comes less than one week ahead of the Divest-Invest Network releasing the third annual report on the state of the divestment movement. The report assesses the growth and impact of the movement over the past year, highlighting new divestment commitments and revealing the latest figures of commitments and divested assets under management. [2]

To date, over 600 institutions have committed to stop investments in fossil fuel companies. Among them are cities such as Oslo, Paris, Berlin, Seattle and Melbourne, educational institutions and academies including more than a quarter of all universities in the UK, the Australian and California Academies of Science, hundreds of faith institutions and foundations. The aim of the divestment campaign Fossil Free is to weaken the fossil fuel industry’s political influence by eroding public acceptance of the main drivers of climate change.

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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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