Push for fossil fuel divestment gains momentum

By Jennifer Mills - Originally published on 

Environmentalists worldwide are pushing investors to stop putting their money into fossil fuel investments, and it looks like that push for divestment is gaining momentum. 

A case in point: the first Fossil Free Canada convergence. November 7 to 9, over 120 students from 15 universities across Canada came together in Montreal for the convergence, where they planned future collaborations and learned new skills to apply in their divestment campaigns.  

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Fossil Free Round Up - September 12th, 2014

School is back and fossil free campaigns are hitting the ground running. Check out all of these amazing launches coming out of divestment campaigns on campuses all across the country! 

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Workshops, presenters and facilitators wanted for Fossil Free Canada Convergence

We are currently seeking panelists, speakers, and workshop facilitators for the Fossil Free Canada Convergence in Montréal, Québec from November 7th-9th.  

Sign up to provide a workshop, speak on a panel, or facilitate a session.

What is the Fossil Free Canada Convergence?

The Fossil Free Canada Convergence will bring together hundreds of students from campuses across the country to take the fossil fuel divestment movement in Canada to the next level. Although there are already nearly thirty active campus-based divestment campaigns in Canada, never before have these groups gathered together in the same place. This will be an opportunity to galvanize the divestment movement by providing training and resources to both active organizers and those wishing to launch new campaigns. 

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Whatever your opinion on the tactic, it’s hard to argue that in 2013 fossil fuel divestment campaigns spread like wildfire around the globe. One of the fastest growing, and probably most talked about climate campaigns in the last year (if not decade) divestment is a new front in the climate movement.

Despite (or maybe because of) divestment’s rapid growth, victories – especially large ones – are still few, setting 2014 up as a big year for campaigns both on and off campus.  Like any campaign, we still have a long way to go, and so with that I came up with some person reflections on divestment and resolutions for 2014.

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Summer’s ending, class is starting, and you can bet divestment will be the number one topic on everyone’s mind this year! We’re super excited about the back-to-school momentum that has been building up on campuses across Canada. Between hard-hitting op-eds, film screenings, and citywide conversations to unite the efforts of campus divestment efforts, it’s clear that this movement is starting the year with a bang.

The national movement through the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) has been building over the summer as well. The Tar Sands Reality Check tour is being organized to bring divestment momentum to your city through speakers, trainings and local actions. PowerShift BC will be an incredible gathering of passionate young climate activists to spark the next burst of climate justice actions across Canada.

To kick-start these efforts, we’re excited to announce a nationwide week of action: aFossil Free Frosh! Across Canada, local divestment chapters are sparking conversation and getting new students engaged through creative initiatives. From September 9th – 13th, we’ll set the stage for meaningful climate action the coming months. Tell us what’s going on at your campus!

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In the past year, over 300 campaigns to divest campus endowments from fossil fuels have been aunched across North America. This new wave in the climate movement – what the Nation and Rolling Stone magazines are calling the “largest student movement in decades” – has sparked a new energy in students pushing for their voices to be heard in shaping Canada and the world’s climate and energy future.

At the same time in Canada, the tar/oil sands have continued to expand in size, and in influence over politics and policies in Canada. The last two years have seen environmental policies rolled back, funding cut, and the launch of a $16 million tax-payer advertising campaign to sell bitumen to Canadians and the world. There has never been a more important time for a reality check on climate change, fossil fuels and Canada’s energy future.

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By Divest McGill



Sign Onto the Letter

Dear Board of Governors of McGill University,

We write to you in light of the recent request to divest the university’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. We urge you to consider this request very seriously. Those of us who have signed the petition – students, faculty, staff and alumni – have done so because we are acutely aware that the issue of climate change merits urgent action. We stand with over 300 other universities across North America who are working on the same initiative, along with several municipalities and other institutions.

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Originally in the Huffington Post

Last summer, founder Bill McKibben wrote an article for Rolling Stone called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” The piece, based on research from the Carbon Track Initiative and backed up by the World Bank and International Energy Agency, laid out three numbers at the heart of the climate crisis. First, is the ceiling for temperature rise, the magic number of 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum warming that even Canada’s climate ignorant government has agreed to. The next number is our global carbon budget of 565 gigatonnes (Gt), the maximum amount we can emit to still have a decent chance of hitting that 2 degree threshold. The third, and scariest, number is 2,795 Gt, the proven reserves of the global fossil fuel industry, and all the carbon they are planning to burn.

All this adds up to sobering equation that to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, 80 per cent of the oil, coal and gas on our planet needs to stay underground, math that Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver doesn’t seem to believe. Oliver really should be paying attention though, because if McKibben’s math was terrifying, new research from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives paints a grim picture of that it means for Canada.

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Last week, Toronto350 organized gathered ”donations” for Fossil Fools day. Check out the video from their action!


Yesterday, on campuses across Canada students brought the fossil fuel divestment movement to Canada with a bang. The national day of student action, called Fossil Fools Day, was organized to call out “an industry that is planning to cook the planet, is responsible for destroying land, polluting the air and water, and violating the rights of people around the world and an industry whose business model means burning over five times the amount of carbon our planet can handle.”

Actions called on campus administration to divest their campuses endowments from fossil fuels, and gathered signatures from hundreds of students across Canada in support. Check out some photos from the actions below.


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