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Pressure mounts as students, staff and councillors come together to call for ‘fossil free’ university

Pressure is mounting on the University of Bristol to ensure none of its £56 million endowment fund is invested in fossil fuel companies. The campaign has seen students, staff, councillors and others work together to call for the university to become ‘fossil free’.  

Building on the 2,000 strong petition1 handed into the university from students and an open letter2signed by 50 staff, Green Councillor Carla Denyer has tabled a motion3 to one of the governance bodies of the university calling for fossil fuel investment to be phased out over a five year period. The motion will be discussed on Friday 27th November. 

Councillor Denyer said: 

“As one of the 13 councillors representing Bristol City Council at the University of Bristol Court, which acts as an advisory body to the University, I am delighted that this motion will be discussed next week. This is the first motion to be discussed at a University of Bristol Court annual meeting in recent memory, so it is fitting that it will address an issue that students, staff and Bristolians feel so strongly about. The motion has received support from staff, alumni, Student Union representatives and Green, Lib Dem and Labour politicians.”

“I am proud that earlier this year Bristol City Council committed to halting investment in the fossil fuel industry after Green councillor Charlie Bolton raised the issue with the Mayor4. It would be exciting to see Bristol University also make sure that its endowment fund helps to build a green and sustainable future, especially in the wake of their success in winning the Green Capital’s Public Sector Award for sustainability last week.5” 

Councillor Denyer has also today written to the Mayor6, calling for him to formally support the university becoming ‘fossil free’.

She concluded:

“Two weeks after Barack Obama announced he is rejecting an application to build the Keystone XL pipeline because it would “not make a meaningful long term contribution to our economy”7, two weeks before the upcoming COP 21 international climate talks in Paris, and during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, I cannot think of a better time for the University to act.”

 

Notes

  1. Student petition: https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/university-of-bristol-divest-from-the-fossil-fuel-industry
  2. http://cabot-institute.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/divestment-at-university-of-bristol.html
  3. Motion to the Annual Meeting of University of Bristol Court
  4. Bristol Council goes Fossil Free: http://gofossilfree.org/uk/press-release/bristol-mayor-commits-to-keeping-city-money-out-of-deadly-fossil-fuels/
  5. University wins Green capital award: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2015/november/green-capital-award.html
  6. Letter to the Mayor
  7. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/06/obama-rejects-keystone-xl-pipeline

Image courtesy of Fossil Free University of Bristol

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