“It’s wrong to profit from wrecking the planet.”
That’s what thousands of young people are saying across the U.S. who are demanding their colleges and universities strip fossil fuel investments from their endowment portfolios.
They are arguing with passion — and a considerable amount of organizing savvy — that the still untapped 2795 gigatons of fossil fuel reserves energy companies own must be left in the ground. Why? Because burning it will cook the planet — raising temperatures 6 degrees Centigrade or more, three times what scientists have determined is the level needed to avert runaway climate chaos.
It’s a message that is profoundly counterintuitive to capitalist culture.
What? Leave resources unexploited, potential profits untapped? The corporate instinct screams in protest. It’s why even when energy companies try to be “green,” they undermine their own efforts. Consider Duke Energy, which holds membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, while at the same time being the third largest emitter of CO2 in the U.S. — and in 11th place globally.