“Go Fossil Free” movement inspires huge divestment from fossil fuels

In an earlier article, we discussed the decision by the Rockefeller Foundation to divest the remaining funds it had tied up in fossil fuels over the next five years. Organizers of the swelling "Go Fossil Free" movement, which helped inspire the decision by the Rockefeller family, announced on Monday September 22 that more than 50 institutions, wealthy individuals and foundations in control of at least $50 billion in assets have pledged to pull their investments from all fossil fuels. 

The announcement followed a 300,000-person strong People's Climate March held in New York City the day before. The World Council on Churches, representative of more than 300 churches and 590 million people in 150 countries, has also committed to the movement. 

"The snowball is picking up speed very rapidly. There's a new urgency imposed by the science. We have to orchestrate the end of the fossil fuel era in a very short time frame," says Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund and the originator of the Divest-Invest initiative, in a Mercury News article. 

What stands in the way of immediate results regarding the initiative is that divesting from present holdings is a complicated process. Parties usually spend months researching and debating a decision on where to devote or remove funds. The process also involves examining how a financial maneuver falls in line with an organization's core goals as well as the long- and short-term risks involved. 

Nevertheless, the movement has gained much of the world's attention. In May of this year, Stanford University's Board of Trustees announced that the institution would no longer invest any of its $19 billion endowment in the 100 publicly traded companies that are focused on coal mining and extraction.

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