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PRESS RELEASE

Thousands of ANU Students Call on the Vice-Chancellor to “Divest the Rest” 

Canberra, 22 April 2015

ANU students today launch a campaign to “Divest the Rest” at ANU, presenting Vice-Chancellor Ian Young a 30 metre long petition, with the signatures of 1500 students calling for leadership.

Despite the widespread media attention that the ANU and its Vice-Chancellor Ian Young received following the decision to divest from seven resource companies, in reality it dumped only two fossil fuel companies and held on to some of the most carbon heavy stocks.

The campaign launch comes the day after a report headed by Australian National University Associate Professor Frank Jotzo said that switching investments away from fossil fuels is a key part of transitioning to a renewable economy and cutting Australia’s carbon emissions.

This action is part of 350.org Australia’s National Day of Campus Divestment Action, and  comes after the university announced that it would sell $16 million worth of shares in seven resource companies in late last year. Yet Fossil Free ANU says the ANU has only made a tiny step and needs to go further.

“ANU has built its image of leadership on climate change by divesting from merely two companies,” said Fossil Free ANU spokesperson Miriam Adams-Schimminger. “We have lauded the ANU for taking the first step, for standing up to its critics, including the Federal Government. But now, if we are to live up to our own rhetoric, we must go further and divest the rest.”

She  points out that the university is still in invested in numerous fossil fuel giants, including BHP Bilton and Westfarmers, and that the Fossil Free ANU campaign will not cease until the university is fully divested.

At a meeting with Vice Chancellor Ian Young they handed over 30 metre long petition of 1500 signatures urging him to divest the rest, a move they say will confirm the ANU’s position as a globally important university.

“With Professor Young announcing his departure from ANU to pursue climate research, it would only make sense for him to want to leave a legacy that distinguished ANU as a global leader in sustainability,” she said.

“The ANU prides itself on being a world leading research university, and we believe it should continue to lead by divesting the rest of its investments in fossil fuels.”

“It’s time for Australian Universities to put their money where their mouth is and get the buck out of fossil fuels. Our Unis are clearly falling behind their global counterparts when it comes to climate leadership,” said 350.org Australia National Campus Divestment Coordinator, Vicky Fysh.

The divestment movement aims to take away the social and political licence of the fossil fuel industry and is being championed by faith groups, educational institutions, cities, and community groups across the world.

“For universities to continue to invest in fossil fuels is for them to directly undermine what they aim to provide their students and society – a future,” Ms Adams-Schimminger said.

Spokespeople Miriam Adams-Schimminger    Louis Klee Fossil Free ANU                     Fossil Free ANU 0403 264 359                          0435 084 253

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