New ANU VC must turn energy vision into investment leadership – Press Release

Appointment of Brian Schmidt as the new ANU Vice-Chancellor is an opportunity for ANU to show real leadership on Australia’s move away from fossil fuels, say students behind the campaign to divest the rest of ANU’s fossil fuel investments.

Claire Gardner, spokesperson for Fossil Free ANU, said “Brian Schmidt understands how serious the carbon problem is getting, for the planet and for Australia’s economic future. He sees Australia’s future is in clean energy.” [Quotes below]

“If ANU is going to lead Australia through these debates, Brian must get ready to take a principled stand on these issues at the ANU. That includes our fossil fuel investments.”

“How can ANU lead the energy transition when it stays invested in the industries trying to hold us in the past?”

Last year the ANU divested from two fossil fuel companies, but held on to major oil and coal producers. The global divestment movement is growing rapidly – Oxford, Stanford, Edinburgh have all divested coal, along with around 30 other unis. MIT may soon join them.

“To be an elite university, ANU must take a principled stand on fossil fuels, or risk getting left behind.”

“We congratulate Brian Schmidt on his new position. It is great to see a leader appointed from within the ANU community. That community will expect Mr Schmidt to take further steps towards making ANU a leading university on this issue.”

“Schmidt says that keeping global warming below 2 degrees means “citizens of the world need to demand it”. Citizens of his own university will continue to call for leadership until ANU has divested from the fossil fuels that are causing this warming and holding back the transition. Fossil Free ANU gladly welcomes any dialogue with Mr Schmidt about how the university may best lead Australia towards a clean energy and safe climate future.”


“Climate change is…the great challenge for humanity over the next 100 years”.

“I see this as an issue where the beginnings of the problems will come towards the end of my life. … As for my grandkids, who don’t exist yet, I really do fear for them and humanity if we don’t tackle this.”

“Yes we do have large reservoirs of coal, which are probably not going to be able to be used. I fully expect that the demand for Australia’s coal reserves will drop off dramatically in the next 20 years.”

“Australians should be looking to help secure our own future. … If you look at our strategic advantage, one might argue we have even more advantages in a renewable energy economy than in a fossil fuel one.”



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