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Resources Committee recommends criteria for fossil fuel divestment

The Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Resources Committee, a group of students, staff, and faculty tasked with considering divestment proposals, will recommend that the University Board of Trustees divest and dissociate from the highest-emissions sectors of the fossil fuel industry, as well as from fossil fuel companies that currently either deny climate change or spread climate disinformation.

At a CPUC meeting on May 3, committee chair and geosciences professor Blair Schoene shared the Resources Committee’s list of four recommendations for the Board’s Committee on Finance to consider, which may detail the future of Princeton’s relationship with fossil fuels.

“Princeton University should dissociate from fossil fuel companies that deny climate change and/or spread climate disinformation” is the first action. Dissociation, Schoene explained, would include divestment of direct and indirect financial investments, cutting of on-campus funding ties, and no longer purchasing products from those companies.

Schoene said the University seeks to align itself with scientific consensus regarding climate change, and that the Resources Committee views climate disinformation as at odds with the institution’s truth-seeking mission.

“Companies who act in direct contradiction to that should be reconsidered for partnerships,” he said.

Schoene explained, though, that the University currently, and for the immediate future, would be unable to entirely disassociate from fossil fuels.

Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian

The second recommendation details that dissociation from “the highest greenhouse gas-emitting sectors of the fossil fuel industry” should be prioritized by the Committee on Finance.

“There are sectors of the fossil fuel industry that can be dissociated from on the shorter term; we should pursue that as quickly as possible,” Schoene said.

Sectors of the fossil fuel industry that do not fall under the descriptions outlined in the first two recommendations are considered in the third.

“Princeton University should establish criteria for conditional dissociation from fossil fuel companies that have not undertaken an acceptable path towards carbon neutrality as guided by scientific recommendations,” the presented slides read.

Schoene told CPUC attendees that given the immediate necessity of the relationship between Princeton and the fossil fuel industry, the Committee believes that the University must seek out relationships with fossil fuel companies that share their values. The most important of these values, he said, is the goal to achieve carbon neutrality in the near future.

Read More: Resources Committee recommends criteria for fossil fuel divestment

2021-05-03 18:13:00

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