• Art Jahnke

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Art Janke

    Art Jahnke began his career at the Real Paper, a Boston area alternative weekly. He has worked as a writer and editor at Boston Magazine, web editorial director at CXO Media, and executive editor in Marketing & Communications at Boston University, where his work was honored with many awards. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 9 comments on ACSRI Proposes Creation of Broad Climate Plan

  1. China is the biggest polluter using dirty coal and making their cities literally unbreathable. If you want to make a real difference then divest from companies that have manufacturing facilities in China.

  2. I think something overlooked in this article is that the committee is recommending only divestment of BU’s direct investments. Yet the majority of our endowment is made up of indirect investments (commingled funds). So fossil fuels are a bad investment and yet we should still keep investing in them? Doesn’t sound very socially responsible to me.

  3. Great that ACSRI has made a recommendation for a certain level of divestment. But people should also read the fine print in the document the committee produced and be cognizant of its implications:

    1. The divestment recommendation is for new exploration in fossil fuels *OR* coal and tar sands. Why do we need to choose between these evils? Especially since it is now clear that the methane emissions from natural gas are in fact worse for global warming than carbon emissions. Not to mention the extraordinary harm done by fracking.

    2. The recommendation for divestment is followed by this line: [Divestment will be] “undertaken in concert with the requirement to meet the university’s fiduciary duties to its endowment.” This clause provides an easy escape route for those not interested in divestment. Unfortunately, it’s a narrow and conservative view on fiduciary duty, which overlooks the Trustees’ OTHER responsibilities, for instance to the present and future welfare of BU’s students and the environment in which they live.

  4. I know this is small potatoes, but could we start by instituting less frigid A.C. guidelines? We are wasting so much energy by keeping our buildings cold enough to refrigerate meat (okay, eggs) and having many, many, many employees wear sweaters and jackets all summer long. It’s just silly! Great job, I have to add, on the automatic lighting in the stairwells around campus! Baby steps…

    1. Thank you so much Clint! I constantly have to contact “classrooms” (which generates a trail of “tickets” to daunt the bravest of the brave) because my students sneeze, cough, keep their hoods on for the entire lecture, and on occasion, have to leave the room to be sick.
      One went back to her dorm and returned with a fur coat (faux fur of course, Sustainability at BU!); another HAD TO DROP MY CLASS because the temperature in the room would set off her asthma.

      And now for my very own small potatoes: Irrigation! I read a few years ago that Harvard switched from manicured lawns to 19th-century English garden, no need for maintenance: they saved hundreds of thousand dollars, not to mention MOTHER NATURE. Whereas in here, the irrigation goes off at random times, soaks the passersby thoroughly, and is regulated to fiercely flood all surrounding sidewalks. The sidewalks are covered under an inch of running water, everywhere, obstructing every passage so that I have to completely re-route my entire day, or get and stay wet (and turn to an ice sculpture in my office).
      Thanks very much for your attention.

  5. I think the ACSRI recommendations are a HUGE step in the right direction! I am crossing my fingers that the Board of Trustees will make the right decision and accept the recommendations!

  6. Professor Vardi’s observations are significant. The “fine print” here, in particular the qualifier cited by Vardi (“recommendations…must be undertaken in concert with the requirement to meet the University’s fiduciary duties to its endowment”), could easily be used to undermine the intent of the committee. Here’s hoping that Dr. Brady, Ben Thompson and so many other forward-thinking BU divestment supporters will succeed in applying pressure and shining a light, when and where needed!

  7. I applaud the ACSRI for its recommendations to the BU Board, in particular its proposal that BU recruit endowment investment managers with expertise in the renewable energy market. My impression from attending the ACSRI forum on 2/23/16 is that divestment from fossil fuel companies is simply too financially complex because the vast majority of the endowment is invested in “co-mingled funds.” However, future investment decisions are controllable, and by hiring financial advisers with expertise in sustainability and “green investing”, BU can move toward a greener portfolio.

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