Fossil Fuel disinvestment campaign continues

The battle for disinvestment in fossil fuels will see new developments next week, as the Students’ Union plan to meet with the University to discuss future action.

Following a motion passed at AGM last month, a joint proposal has now been created by members of the Students’ Union and student society People and Planet to present to the university.

This will be put forward to the University early next week in what VP Welfare Kate Delaney described as a “regular meeting” held between all sabbatical staff and members of the University.

Written by Delaney and Ethical and Environmental Officer Daniel Tucker, the provisional proposal criticises the university’s behaviour on multiple fronts, including its position as 85th place on the People and Planet Green League.

The report also notes that given the institution’s substantial involvement in research within sustainable energy, investment in fossil fuels is “completely conflictual”.

Reflecting upon the effect of climate change on future generations, it continued: “The University has a responsibility to consider the welfare and the lives of their current and future students, which is contradicted by profiting from investments in fossil fuels.”

Despite the report, the sabbatical officer stressed that campaign remains in its early stages and that the Union are looking only for a “steer from the University on where best to take this further.”

Following the meeting, members of the Students’ Union will continue to meet regularly to keep up to date with any progress. This includes the Students’ Union President and the Ethical and Environmental Officer.

Talking to Gair Rhydd, the Environmental Office stated that the focus of the proposal was to use the “language of positive change” and to: “outline the financial and institutional benefits to the university as much as the ethical ones”.

This includes case studies such as the Bill Gates Foundation, which Tucker explained “would have stood to profit a lot more by divesting a matter of years earlier”.

If the university agrees to disinvestment in fossil fuels, it will be the first in Wales to do so. Currently 181 institutions globally have agreed to divest a combined sum of $50 billion.

The campaigns for Cardiff to disinvest form part of similar protests that remain ongoing at Bristol, Bath and Exeter universities. As a result the report has stressed that to agree to the AGM motion, Cardiff University has the opportunity to set an example for others.

Recently London School of Economics received national media attention after committing to disinvest £97.2 million of tuition fees within the coal and tar sands industry.

With proposals for action in Cardiff voted in by the 600 students present for the AGM, and previously supported the Student Senate, it appears that similar change would be openly welcome by its students.

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