People & Planet and the National Union of Students (NUS) announced today that over a third of universities in the UK have made fossil free commitments, as nine new UK universities have committed to never invest in fossil fuel companies. This brings the total to fifty four institutions which have taken action to exclude fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios.
Last week at the Barclays Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chairman John McFarlane told shareholders that the bank would be withdrawing their financing of fracking company Third Energy - licensed to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Barclays owns 97% controlling stakes in Third Energy. This could be a huge victory for the anti-fracking and climate justice movement in the UK, showing the power of organising and building coalitions in our local communities.
St Andrews doesn’t do protests. The normally polite town had its first
large protest of the academic year on 30 January when a couple of
hundred protesters marched through the town to protest Donald Trump’s
immigration ban. One of the signs read; “You know it’s bad when it’s
protested in St Andrews” emphasising the placid nature of the student
Despite consistently placing in the top tier of higher education institutions both globally and nationally in terms of academic excellence, Oxford University has consistently shown a poor track record when it comes to sustainability.
On the 2nd of December, Bristol Green Party Councillor Carla Denyer put forward a motion to Bristol University's ‘Court’ with the support of the UoB Fossil Free campaign. The motion both proposed that the University should ‘set a lead in tackling climate change’ by gradually phasing out its investments in companies which derive the majority of their revenue from fossil fuel extraction, and advises the Board to commit to completing this by the end of 2021. In 2015, Denyer submitted a similar motion to the Court, which was only 3% short of passing.
As the global climate justice movement continues to grow and grow with an increasingly exciting energy, it manifests at its loudest, most colourful, creative, and radical on university campuses across the UK and the world. With a fresh wave of fossil fuel divestments announced alongside People & Planet's 2016 University League, universities across the country now know full well that sustainability is a core concern for their staff and students, and it is here to stay.