Faculty at Harvard disagree with how the school invests endowment money in fossil fuels. (Carol Mitchell/Flickr cc)
More than a hundred faculty members at Harvard are calling on the university to divest from fossil fuels. The professors want Harvard to better align its investment and intellectual values.
In an open, the professors said they know that fossil fuels cause climate change and carry unprecedented destructive potential.
Jim Anderson teaches about global energy and climate. He signed the letter because, he says, a crucial part of higher education's responsibility is to look forward in time, and to interpret scientific developments.
"The development of fossil fuels is something that is not sustainable within the climate structure," said Anderson. "And the impact of that climate change will affect people in very, very different ways and it affects people who have no way of controlling this, even though it's very important for their future."
The open letter was published online Thursday:
Faculty who signed the letter would like Harvard President Drew Faust to show stronger leadership by divesting in oil and coal companies, similar to what her predecessors did with apartheid and the tobacco industry.
Faust recentlyHarvard's commitment to both climate and energy issues, and now managers of its endowment will take environmental factors into account. The university hasn't committed to divesting yet.
For now, Harvard says Faust is focusing on the university’s research and education programs that might help the transition to renewable energy.
Here is Harvard's statement.