FILE PHOTO: Cyclists are seen in front of Cambridge University following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cambridge, United Kingdom on May 15, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Couldridge
October 1, 2020
By Matthew Green
LONDON (Reuters) – Cambridge University on Thursday pledged to cut climate warming emissions from its investments to zero within 18 years. This is a first among academic institutions under pressure from students to do more to tackle climate change.
The 800-year-old UK university announced that it will rebalance its £ 3.5 billion ($ 4.5 billion) endowment fund to ensure it stops contributing to global warming by 2038 – ahead of many other climate-induced investors that tend to have set a 2050 deadline.
“Cambridge is one of the world’s leading science universities. We plan to align our investment portfolio with science,” Tilly Franklin, the university’s chief investment officer, told Reuters Television.
Cambridge announced that it will divest all remaining stakes in fossil fuel companies by 2030 to support its goal. This is part of a broader Cambridge Zero initiative to harness the university’s scientific and convening power for climate action.
Students in Europe and North America have been campaigning for universities to abandon fossil fuels for years. In February, Extinction Rebellion protesters dug up the lawn of Cambridge Trinity College as part of a week-long series of demonstrations across the city.
Fossil dumping has proven controversial for many pension schemes that prefer to work with highly polluting companies. Nevertheless, according to the Divest / Invest interest group, more than 1,000 institutes have committed to sell.
Cambridge goes beyond tight divestment strategies and aims for net zero issuance by 2038. In doing so, Cambridge is joining an avant-garde of investors seeking a macroeconomic shift to a low-carbon future and raising the bar on timing.
Given that the net zero targets are still in their infancy, analysts might say fund managers may struggle to get access to the data and investment options they need to be sure they make meaningful change.
“The challenge is how we can bring a global economy to zero by mid-century,” said Emily Shuckburgh, climate researcher and director of Cambridge Zero.
(Reporting by Matthew Green, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
This article originally appeared on www.oann.com