Universities under pressure to ‘divest’ from fossil fuels

Universities under pressure to ‘divest’ from fossil fuels

Environmental activists are pressuring universities around the country to “divest” and stop all investment in fossil fuels.

Many are taking heed, and more than a dozen universities — among them Stanford and Syracuse — have already promised to stop all such investments. But around 50 others, such as Harvard, Yale, and the University of Colorado, have decided not to.

On Thursday, New York University’s faculty senate will vote on whether to strip its $3.5 billion endowment fund of fossil fuel investments. The controversial measure is supported by some environmentalists, but critics say that it would needlessly cost the school money.

An NYU faculty working group studying the issue recommends that the university keep its fossil fuel investments due to financial reasons.

“In order to eliminate the $139 million in fossil fuel investments, NYU would have to [end] relationships with 39 funds… this [is] not financially prudent,” their report concluded.

Some students concur.

“This is about making a feel-good statement. But the university is the one that has to pay for it. This would mean forgoing millions in funding for scholarships and facilities,” NYU junior Eli Nachmany told FoxNews.com.

Economists also say that divestment will not hurt oil company stocks because, when a university sells its fossil-fuel stock and the price falls, independent traders see that the stock has become undervalued and snap it up.

But supporters say their goal is simply to send a message.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/04/29/universities-under-pressure-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels/

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