Category: Cutler Cleveland
College fossil fuel divestment: the view from the lectern
Editor’s note: Concerned about their future and climate change, many college students have joined campaigns to pressure universities to divest their endowments from fossil fuel companies. We asked Boston University professor Cutler J. Cleveland, who is active in divestment efforts, to share his perspective.
I have taught courses in the energy and environmental sciences at Boston University for 27 years. For most of that time I have remained “above the fray” when it comes to activism, preferring to let others, including many of my students, engage in the political process.
I can no longer stand on the sidelines. Climate change and other impacts that stem from our reliance on fossil fuels are large, growing and they disproportionately harm the poor in every society. As a scientist, I conclude that the evidence is unassailable. As a citizen, I am compelled to try and use this information to help steer our energy system to a sustainable future. Many universities hold large endowments or funds that have significant positions in fossil fuel companies. This investment will increasingly be viewed as an abdication of the university’s treasured position as representing the intelligence of society.