The movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy has grown fifty-fold in one year, topping $2.6 trillion, a report from DivestInvest finds.
Based on a survey conducted by Arabella Advisors, the report, Measuring the Growth of the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement (executive summary, 27 pages, PDF), found that more than four hundred institutions and two thousand individuals have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, including governments and institutional investors from forty-three countries and multiple sectors including health, education, entertainment, philanthropy, faith, climate justice, and municipalities and pension funds. According to DivestInvest, in the past year, more than a hundred and fifteen philanthropic organizations with assets totaling more than $10 billion have committed to divest their portfolios of fossil fuels. Some recent examples include the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the Norway Pension Fund, the Canadian Medical Association, the World Council of Churches, the University of California system, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the KR Foundation, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Divestment strategies varied among participants in the movement. Some have divested from all fossil fuel companies both large and small; others have begun with coal and/or tar sands. The United Nations climate chief has been advocating for the shift of investment flows from fossil fuels to climate solutions to meet the $1 trillion a year need for clean energy investment and to create momentum ahead of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Paris this December.
"If these numbers tell us anything, it's that the divestment movement is catching fire," said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. "Since starting on the campuses of a few colleges in the U.S., this movement has struck a chord with people across the world who care about climate change and convinced some of the largest and most influential institutions in the world to begin pulling their money out of climate destruction. That makes me hopeful for our future, and it's sending a clear message to world leaders as they head into Paris: It’s time for them to follow suit, and divest our governments from fossil fuel companies too."