Photograph: Institutions worth $2.6 trillion have now pulled investments out of fossil fuels. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/22/leonardo-dicaprio-joins-26tn-fossil-fuel-divestment-movement. Web. (10/26/2015)
In the movement to counter climate change, the classic saying “actions speak louder than words” is essential. Luckily, actions are what we are starting to see.
In the previous year or so, many individuals and institutions have begun pulling out large sums of investment money out of fossil fuel companies, according to a study by Arabella Advisors1. Between these individuals and institutions, approximately $2.6 trillion worth of investments has been committed to being pulled from coal & oil thus far this year and reinvested into cleaner energy sources, such as solar.
The divestment movement initially started in universities and religious institutions before it began to include institutions, pension funds, insurance companies, and individuals, such as outspoken actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who has also publicly joined the campaign. In a statement, he said: “Now is the time to divest and invest to let our world leaders know that we, as individuals and institutions, are taking action to address climate change, and we expect them to do their part in Paris.”
According to the study, the 2,040 individuals and 436 institutions that committed to the $2.6 trillion divesting are part of a global movement, hailing from 43 countries throughout the world. Last year, only $50 billion in assets from 181 institutions and 1,000 individuals took part in the movement. It is therefore clear that the commitments have since ramped up massively. While the divestment campaign has begun to take shape across the globe, it will be just as important to see how much of the commitments will truly have been divested. Since much of it is private money, it will be tough to say.
While the impact of the divestment campaign on the energy industry is difficult to put into exact numbers, the monetary threat is clear, and pressure is mounting. As investment funding into coal, oil & natural gas plummets, it will force energy companies to invest in clean energy or risk going out of business altogether. Additionally, as more money, including money from the divestment movement, is being invested into clean energy, the clean energy industry will be given a global boost. Awareness is growing faster than ever before, which is starting to change how we view and deal with the mounting issue of climate change.