Divest Facilitates Global Call for Fossil-Free Research
500+ top academics: Fossil fuel money creates conflicts of interest that hurt us all
Universities around the world are trying to become leaders on climate. But so long as they allow fossil fuel companies to fund climate research, say a group of leading academics, they’re holding themselves back. The call comes in the form of a landmark open letter in which some of the world’s most noted academics write that oil and gas money in climate research “is antithetical to universities’ core academic and social values, and supports industry greenwashing. Thus, it compromises universities’ basic institutional integrity, academic freedom, and their ability to address the climate emergency.”
The letter, which has been reported on by major media outlets across the US and Europe, is signed by academics including multiple IPCC authors, Nobel Prize recipients, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, a former President of Ireland, and University Chancellors. It was coordinated with the aid of students at Cambridge Climate Justice, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and Sunrise George Washington.
“For climate research to be truly in the public good, it must be free from the ties of the special interest groups that put us here in the first place,” said signatory Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, Associate Professor of Paleoecology & Plant Ecology at the University of Maine (@JacquelynGill).
The letter comes in the wake of a growing recognition among the Harvard community that the university’s safeguards are simply insufficient to protect the institution from the corrosive influence of fossil fuel interests. Last semester, a report from Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard found that the university’s climate initiatives are awash in fossil fuel money, that the university’s conflict of interest policies are woefully underenforced, and that some university policies may have been violated in the process.
“Our universities must be climate leaders, not climate laggards. That means refusing to lend their reputations to fossil fuel industry greenwashing and ensuring the integrity of research that shapes public discourse and policymaking on the urgently-needed energy transition,” said Harvard alumnus and letter signatory Dr. Peter Kalmus of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the UCLA Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering.
Read the letter here: https://fossilfreeresearch.com/
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