ANU acknowledges fossil fuel industry is a risky investment

Friday, 1 April 2016

Today Luke Kemp, on behalf of Fossil Free ANU, presented to ANU Council with a Staff Open Letter of over 450 signatures in support of divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

In response, ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt outlined how the ANU was managing the risk associated with investing in the fossil fuel industry, and how it has taken action to limit carbon exposure.

Schmidt announced that the ANU would ‘weight the portfolio to reduce carbon intensity… to ensure that it is at least 25 per cent lower than the ASX 200’

Schmidt stated: This was done to more efficiently decrease the University’s investment exposure to CO2 intensive industries without increasing the University’s exposure to volatility in the equities market.

The University will continue to evaluate the methods available to simultaneously meet its obligations to achieve a high and stable return on its investment portfolio and decrease its CO2 intensity’.

Fossil Free Spokesperson, Luke Kemp, welcomed the move but stressed that, “as with the ANU’s partial divestment in 2014, it is not enough.”

Kemp said: ‘The ANU’s move to decrease the carbon intensity of their investments is a welcome, positive step forward. It demonstrates that the ANU clearly recognises carbon exposure, and the risks of investing in fossil fuel companies. This sends a signal to other universities about the importance of considering the financial risk of investing in a carbon bubble.’

‘However, there is  a world of difference between minimising risk and showing leadership. Climate change is a moral issue that requires urgent, decisive action. By not fully divesting, the ANU today missed an opportunity to show true climate leadership. We implore ANU to fully divest urgently, as we cannot wait any longer.’

In their presentation, Fossil Free ANU announced that if the ANU does not take leadership on climate change then they will be forced to take further leadership themselves.

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