March 5, 2020 Read More →

Australia: University of New South Wales to divest from fossil fuels

pv Magazine:

UNSW will divest itself of fossil fuel assets by 2025 as part of its ambitious net-zero emissions goal. The global powerhouse of renewable energy and sustainability science is advancing rapidly towards energy purity as the capital flight from fossil fuels accelerates.

The University of New South Wales, home to the ARC Centre for Climate Extremes, the ARC Research Hub for Integrated Energy Storage Solutions, the Digital Grid Futures Institute and the UNSW School of Photovoltaic Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE), announced plans to divest itself from fossil fuels by 2025. 

The abstention applies both to direct ownership or any other sundry funds (including public equities and corporate bonds of companies whose primary business is in the ownership and exploitation of fossil fuel reserves). 

 “Our divestment decision is a clear statement of UNSW’s responsible investment intent and the continuation of our long and impressive journey on climate action,” said President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs. “It is worth remembering that more than 30 years ago, the solar cell technology which powers 50% of solar panels around the world was developed right here at UNSW.”

According to the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), capital flight from the fossil fuel industry is accelerating. In January 2020, the investment firm BlackRock announced its divestment from thermal coal, a big move from a company with US$7 trillion in assets under management. In total, 116 globally significant banks and insurers have begun to institute fossil fuel divestment policies to bring themselves more into alignment with the Paris Agreement. 

“We owe it to UNSW’s pioneering researchers to carry on their fine legacy,” said Jacobs. 

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