Report takes steps in the right direction, while leaving serious gaps that undermine commitments

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Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard is a student campaign that believes that when the planet’s on fire, it’s wrong to support the arsonists.

In April 2020, Harvard announced a set of general net-zero climate principles for its investment portfolio — and pledged that more specific details would be released by “late 2020.” Yesterday, February 25, Harvard followed through, releasing an initial report on its commitments. The report reflects some positive developments — but also includes significant shortcomings, such as a refusal to divest from the industry most responsible for this crisis, that undermine Harvard’s stated commitments and reflect the continued and seismic disconnect between Harvard’s actions and its espoused rhetoric about the urgent need for climate action.

The report contains two important victories…


Parody website draws attention to Harvard’s inaction on climate crisis

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Meet the Harvard Corporation. They’re the 13 members of Harvard’s highest governing board — and their superpower is controlling a $42 billion endowment. (Image: HarvardCorpLovesFossilFuels.com)

They don’t wear capes, but they wield massive superpowers. Together, the 13 members of the Harvard Corporation control Harvard’s $42 billion and shape the university’s impact on its students and on the world. And yet, few even know who they are.


Students raise concerns about Harvard’s climate inaction, lay out pathways to institutional leadership

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Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard is a student campaign that believes that when the planet’s on fire, it’s wrong to support the arsonists.

Last week, student organizers from Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard (FFDH) met with administrators to discuss the state of Harvard’s response to the climate crisis. The students at the meeting were Ilana Cohen ’22, Claire Pryor ’22, Joseph Winters ’21, Connor Chung ’23, and Isha Sangani ’24. Representing Harvard was President Lawrence Bacow, Senior Fellow William Lee, and members of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.

The discussion had been requested by students in hopes of identifying common ground, after months of growing community consensus — including resounding votes by students, faculty, and alumni — regarding the inadequacy of Harvard’s response…


Students: In Wake of Crises, Harvard’s Obligation to the World Cannot Be Ignored

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CAMBRIDGE, MA — On Saturday, members of the Harvard community took to the Yard in a socially-distanced manner to call on Harvard to disclose, divest, and reinvest its fossil fuel holdings. The rally, which was organized entirely by first-year students, sent a loud and clear message to administration that in the wake of historic global crises, Harvard’s obligation to the world cannot be ignored.

During the event, the crowd called for change through song, chant, speeches, and more. The participants also wrote their personal reasons for supporting divestment on signs, and observed seven minutes of silence to mark the remaining…


Groups see connection in fight for an ethical and just institution

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For the first time ever, alumni organizers with Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard (FFDH) and the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign (HPDC) announced that they will formally and substantively partner, linking up their respective calls for Harvard’s divestment from fossil fuels and prisons to insist on a full ethical restructuring of the endowment that permanently ends the university’s extractive investment model.

The two groups — each composed of alumni around the world who identify with one or both campaigns — demonstrated their commitment to the partnership, and to building a joint base, with a co-hosted political education session in September, entitled “Connecting…


In wake of victory, campaigners turn their eyes across the Atlantic

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With peer institutions recognizing the moral necessity of divesting from fossil fuels, Harvard remains stuck in the past.

In a Thursday morning announcement, The University of Cambridge revealed its plans to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The decision, which came after five years of tireless activism, is a win for the climate justice movement — and puts significant pressure on Harvard to act.

“From Newton to Darwin to Rosalind Franklin, Cambridge University has always been at the forefront of human understanding of the world around us,” said climate activist Bill McKibben ’82. “With this announcement, the product of hard work over many years by hundreds of devoted campaigners, the University finally puts its money where its brains…


Students, Alums, and Faculty Examine Harvard’s Climate Response, Pathway to Leadership

Missed the panel? Watch it above!

On Tuesday, members of the Harvard community gathered for a discussion on “Actually Confronting the Climate Crisis.” The panel, which featured student, alumni, and faculty voices from across the university, examined the failure of Harvard’s climate policies to date — and explored what it would take for Harvard to be a leader in the fight against climate crisis.

It was the first public event of the year for Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and comes in the wake of significant momentum for the campaign: in recent months, majorities of alumni, faculty, and students have voted…


Harvard Forward’s Victory is a Mandate from Alumni for Stronger Climate Action

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In November 2019, over 500 students and alumni disrupted the Harvard-Yale football game to demand divestment and institutional leadership on matters of climate justice (Photo: Campbell Erickson, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard)

CAMBRIDGE, MA — On Friday morning, Harvard University announced the winners of its 2020 Board of Overseer and Harvard Alumni Association Director elections. Among the victorious candidates were Midge Purce, Thea Sebastian, and Jayson Toweh, three members from the Harvard Forward petition slate elected on a platform of divestment, responsible investment, climate leadership, and inclusive governance. This monumental election victory illustrates a clear desire among the Harvard community for change and an institution that represents the diversity of its current alumni and generations to come. …


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The letter, which was organized by FFDH and student climate groups around the country, was published by The Guardian.

On Tuesday, August 4th The Guardian published a letter entitled “To Rebuild our World, End the Carbon Economy,” signed by over 100 economists. The statement, which is notable for its bold prescription of climate action aimed at ending fossil fuel reliance, was signed by leading experts in the field, including Jeff Sachs and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia, Mariana Mazzucato of UCL, Darrick Hamilton of OSU, Dani Rodrik of Harvard, Gernot Wagner of NYU, and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich of UC Berkeley. …


Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and too many more have been murdered as a result of a structurally racist society

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We mourn and condemn the racist murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others. We demand justice for the countless Black people who have faced violence at the hand of this nation’s chronic over-policing, mass incarceration, and all manifestations of structural racism and white supremacy.

This is a conversation that must continue around the country — including at our own institution. From Harvard University’s founding as an institution reliant on the exploitation of enslaved persons to its repeated decisions to invest in industries that disproportionately harm BlPOC communities, Harvard’s history and wealth are built…

Divest Harvard

We call upon Harvard to #divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies and reinvest responsibly.

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