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Game Over for Coal? Fossil Fuel Divestment Doubles in a Year

Dec 14, 2016 05:45 AM EST
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Earth likely to warm 2°C by end of this century

The year 2015 has been quite exciting for climate change. In the said year, a lot of people and hundreds of institutions with $2.6 trillion in assets reportedly pledged to remove investments from fossil fuel companies, which involve stocks, mutual funds, and bonds.

Now it seems the "astonishing" figure has gone to "extraordinary" as the number has apparently doubled since then.

According to DivestInvest, a philanthropy helping to lead the movement, more than 688 institutions and 60,000 individual investors worth $5.2 trillion in total have already pulled out investments from fossil fuel companies. In turn, they reinvested portions of their assets into clean energy companies.

in September 2015, 436 institutions and 2,040 people worth $2.6 trillion had divested.

According to Motherboard, a good comparison is the 2014 net worth of investors who pulled out of the fossil fuel market, which is just $52 billion. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said this is a clear indication that the transition to a clean energy future is inevitable.

It appears divestment away from fossil fuel companies is one of the stronger moves used by private citizens and companies to support the move toward clean energy. The movement began in 2011 when college students started to petition their institutions to remove assets from stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that are invested in fossil fuel companies.

According to the New Republic, while it was considered as a gimmick during the time, it appears to have gained momentum a year after the Paris Climate Treaty began.

Ellen Dorsey, head of DivestInvest, said that on the one-year anniversary of the Paris agreement, just after the historic presidential elections in the United States, divestment is needed more than ever. This is in fear that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may not be as supportive of the clean energy movement as his predecessors.

Regardless, divestment appears to be in direct support to current investments toward the development of cleaner technology and research on more green-based devices.

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