The number of British Universities redirecting their investment away from fossil fuels is rising. 16 more universities have committed to stop investing in fossil fuels industry this year. This means the UK is the current world-leading country in higher education action against fossil fuels, with a total of 43 institutions divesting. The decision was led by the growing concern about increasing global warming caused by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. A huge contribution towards the decision was provided by student activists who have been running campaigns across the country.
The numbers were released by the student campaigning network People and Planet. The total funds redirected by the new British entries of the divesting movement is predicted to be more than £10 billion. People and Planet monitor sustainability efforts of 150 British universities with a University League, which allocates British universities in different classes, from fail to first class, based on their score.
Nottingham Trent University is the current leader of the league with a total score of 76.2%, followed by University of Brighton and Manchester Metropolitan University. University of Liverpool, 133rd in the league, was allocated among third class universities, scoring only 28.2% in total and 0% in ethical investment. Russell Group universities have poor scores generally, with University of Oxford ranked 46th and University of Cambridge ranked 57th.
The fossil fuel divestment movement is enjoying a growing success around the world. Born in US, where 35 institutions joined together in 2011 with the aim to invest in renewable energy, it’s now the fastest-growing divestment movement in history. In occasion of the Paris agreement, in November 2015, 27 UK universities committed to this effort. Since the COP 22 held in Marrakesh, 16 more have joined – and British Universities are leading the change.