Harvard University, one of the richest and most prestigious colleges in the United States of America, has just released a statement disclosing that it will end all investments in fossil fuels. According to Harvard’s self published news update, climate change is a “consequential threat” which humanity is up against. Harvard goes on to reference the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report. The IPCC’s sixth assessment is its latest report which outlines the physical evidence for climate change and its environmental tolls.

To some extent, its apparent that Harvard recognizes the emerging need to decarbonize on an international scale. Earlier this year (2021), Harvard Management Company (HMC) announced that it had already ceased all direct investments in companies that pursued fossil fuel. Harvard admits that HMC has legacy investments that are still indirectly tied up in “private equity funds with holdings in fossil fuel industries”. According to Harvard, HMC has no interest in renewing these legacy investments once the relevant partnerships end or are liquidated. If Harvard and HMC are in fact serious about being conducive to the transition to the clean energy revolution, then they have a responsibility to set a standard for other institutions and companies. Though, it is fair to say that they have already taken preliminary steps in the right direction.

students holding divest Harvard sign
students holding divest Harvard sign

Beyond HMC’s vow to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within its own operations by July, 2023, its also collaborating with the Carbon Disclosure Project, Principles for Responsible Investment, and Climate Action 100+. These organizations all, in some way or another, contribute to managing carbon and fossil fuel outputs made by governments and conglomerates. Students, athletes and Harvard’s sports attendees have been floating banners that read “Divest Harvard” on them. Tweets from Al Gore, to Environmental expert, Bill McKibben, highlight just how celebrated Harvard’s news about ending new investments is.

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