Divestment the opposite of an investment –simply means getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical and morally ambiguous.
Fossil fuel divestment movement takes the fossil fuel industry to task for knowingly perpetuating the climate crisis. By naming industry’s singularly destructive influence and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change, the fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.
Globally the Fossil Free divestment movement to date has resulted in over $5 trillion worth of fossil fuel assets being committed for divestment. This brings the total number of divestment commitments to nearly 700.
This is big news! This illustrated divestment to be a tangible tactic in the resistance against a rogue fossil fuel industry. Continuing to invest in the fossil fuel industry means funding climate impacts.
The strong moral case for divestment in South Africa was instrumental pressuring institutions to divest from companies doing business in during apartheid. The movement sparked dialogue, stigmatized a racist regime, and eventually led to US sanctions against South Africa.
How Fossil Fuel Divestment Makes an Impact
Firstly, divestment aims to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry, revoke the industry’s social license, and weaken its political influence.
Secondly, divestment is building a powerful movement that involves an inclusive tactic — everyone is part of an institution that has something to divest (state pension fund, religious institution, personal investments – the list goes on), and connecting these institutions to the climate change question could catalyze a historic social movement.
A Fossil Free Africa – South Africa
No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa. Our long-term prosperity, as well as the survival of already vulnerable populations is under threat from the adverse impacts of fossil fuel use.
This is why we are amplifying the call for Fossil Free divestment in Africa, starting with South Africa and Cape Town as a clear target.
Why? Because 2016 is the record year for global CO2 emissions yet global commercial banks investments in coal have continued to increase. And South African institutions are playing a crucial role in financing Africa’s growing addiction to fossil fuels, the biggest emitters of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions that drive global climate change.
Following divestment commitments from the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, in 2016, this May (5-13) we are calling on Banks, pension funds, universities, cities, and faith based organisations to step up their leadership and withdraw their investments from fossil fuel companies and back climate solutions. Are you in?
We can have a fossil free future with solar and wind energy providing locally-generated electricity for millions of people but it must start now with a change in investment.