Dear Gareth Evans: Climate calls for Leadership

Dear ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans

cc: Vice Chancellor Prof. Ian Young

bcc: 1500+ who want ANU to be a leader on climate change.

Last week, I met with VC Prof Ian Young to discuss climate change and ANU’s investments in fossil fuels. He said much in confidence, but he urged me to repeat the following.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. I worry about about our ability to meet that challenge. There will be a time when we no longer use fossil fuels. The question is how fast we move.”

I am sure you agree with the Vice Chancellor. That is why it is concerning to find that at the three day ‘Crawford Australian Leadership Forum’ you are hosting at ANU next week, climate change is not on the agenda.

You can put it there in your opening speech.

At this Leadership Forum, ANU has gathered an impressive range of powerful people: politicians, business people, public servants, academics. They will discuss the “geopolitical and economic issues of most immediate contemporary significance” that set “the agenda needing to be addressed by the Australian Government.”

Yet ‘climate change’, ‘carbon’ or even the ‘environment’ do not feature even once. What’s more, in the session on “Energy”, three representatives from fossil fuel companies will speak about boosting fossil fuel exports!

The “biggest challenge facing humanity” ought to be front and centre. Chancellor, you can use your opening speech to call for leadership on climate change and keeping most fossil fuels in the ground. Will you?

ANU has a responsibility to protect the future wellbeing of its students, not to mention its reputation, by leading on climate change. A safe climate means keeping most fossil fuels in the ground and moving quickly to clean energy.

I understand ANU staff are currently considering ANU’s responsible investment policy. They are trying to work out if unstoppable climate change from fossil fuels constitutes “substantial social injury”.

1500 in the ANU community have called for ANU to divest from fossil fuels. Our movement continues to grow. Stanford has now said it will divest from coal, after you said it was the ‘gold standard’ in this area. Just today, the British Medical Association announced it would divest, and reinvest in renewables.

While ANU considers divestment, it should not be moving backwards. It should be speaking truth to power.  I call on you to show leadership at the Leadership Forum and put climate change, clean energy and unburnable carbon on the agenda.


Tom Swann

Masters of Climate Change

Fossil Free ANU




Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Dear Gareth Evans: Climate calls for Leadership

  1. Pingback: Crisis of climate leadership at our universities - The Fifth Estate « The Fifth Estate

  2. Pingback: The Fifth Estate | Crisis of climate leadership at our universities

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