University of Oxford cuts ties to fossil fuels industry

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The university says its investments will be compatible with the Paris agreement

Oxford University says it is cutting its ties to the fossil fuel industry.

The institution will also ask its fund managers to show evidence of net zero carbon business plans.

Vice-chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said it would make the university a "world leader in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change before it is too late".

The Oxford Climate Justice Campaign (OCJC) said the resolution was of "historic importance".

OCJC member and Dphil student Anna Olerinyova said it showed "the age of fossil fuels is rapidly coming to an end."

She added: "We hope the message from Oxford to the world is clear; listen to the science, prepare for the future and ditch fossil fuels."

The university said its approach would follow the climate-conscious business practices in its own Oxford Martin Principles for Climate-Conscious Investment.

It includes a framework for companies to assess whether investments are compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Image source, Fossil Free UK
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Protesters been campaigning for the university to rethink its investments

Ms Richardson said: "Oxford is a global pioneer in many areas of environmental research and science, from climate economics to biodiversity, energy use, and climate change modelling.

"I am very grateful to all the staff and students who came together to develop this new and exciting agreement on investment."

Professor Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, added: "This is not mere divestment; this is a commitment to divestment plus engagement... to help accelerate progress towards net zero emissions."

Molly Clark, a Dphil student and an OCJC organiser, said: "This is a step for Oxford, and I hope it will inspire more institutions worldwide to bring their endowments in line with the Paris Agreement."

In 2015 the university said it would avoid investing in the worst polluting fuels but stopped short of agreeing to divest all its fossil fuel investments.

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