We are a network of South Africans concerned that climate change is a profound threat to human rights and our collective prosperity. We are working to create public understanding that the fossil fuel industry, globally and in South Africa, bears an overwhelming share of the responsibility for fuelling ongoing climate change. We advocate for urgent divestment from fossil fuels by universities, unions, churches, civil society organisations – and indeed, all investment funds.
Divestment is the morally correct course for us all, but in fact, there is also much evidence that portfolios without fossil fuels perform as well or better than those with. A world without fossil fuels promises many advantages: greater economic, environmental and social stability.
Please see our detailed rationale for divestment by UCT, most of which holds true for any investor.
As South Africans, this global campaign holds particular resonance for us since it was a campaign of global divestment that helped bring an end to the racist apartheid regime that ruled our country until 1994. This talk by Bob Massie, an expert on divestment, outlines the connections and logic. (Here’s a list of institutional, regional and community divestment petitions.)
Our group has begun amongst those who wrote to the University of Cape Town in November 2013, asking the university to disclose and reduce its fossil fuel investments. It is a campaign inspired by the international divestment campaign and the pioneering work of 350.org. We work in tandem with 350 Africa.
Do the Math
To really understand the heart and soul (and mind) of this movement, please take a little time to watch Do The Math. It’s a 40-min documentary explaining the movement, and a moving and skilled piece of film-making to boot. It’s not completely open access, but you can get a link for viewing it from this page.
Three numbers (highlighted by Bill McKibben in this Rolling Stone article):
2 degrees: The world’s nations have agreed to hold average global warming below two degrees.
565 gigatonnes: “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope (80%) of staying below two degrees.”
2,795 Gigatonnes: “…the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it’s the fossil fuel we’re currently planning to burn.”
In short, fossil fuel companies are planning to burn more than five times the amount of coal, gas and oil that is safe for humanity, and they have to be stopped. Here’s an updated analysis of the math, done by Carbontracker.org.
More information and resources
Being a global movement, there is a great wealth of resources available from the hundreds of campaigns starting up around the world. Articles – Campus Campaigns – Faith Campaigns – Graphics – Guides & Handbooks – Lists & Charts – Local Government – Local Government Campaigns – Materials – Other Reports – Templates