The divestment campaign has reached an impressive milestone: 1,000 institutions have cut ties with fossil fuels. The achievement comes after six years of hard work led by the climate change organization 350.org, which was co-founded by climate activist and writer Bill McKibben.
The 1,000 institutions who have banded together in their pledges to divest from fossil fuels span 37 countries and have withdrawn a total of $8 trillion from the fossil fuels industry. The list of institutions include universities, religious organizations, banks, insurance agencies, entire cities (NYC!), and even a whole country! This past July, Ireland became the first country in the world to pledge to divest from fossil fuels, taking with it €8 billion away from the fossil fuel industry.
This milestone occurred at an apt time when representatives from countries around the world met in Poland at the COP24 summit to discuss climate negotiations. Ultimately negotiators were unable to arrive at international agreements for issues like green finance, but the executive director of 350.org, May Boeve commented:
“While diplomats at the UN climate talks are having a hard time making progress, our movement has changed how society perceives the role of fossil fuel corporations and is actively keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”
And the campaign plans to capitalize on the momentum. “This is a moral movement as well as a financial one,” said 350.org organizer Nico Haeringer. “Just five years ago we had 181 divestment commitments and $50 billion shifted away from polluting industries and today we’re over 1000 and approaching $8 trillion.” The campaign hopes to involve millions of people directly and reach $12 trillion dollars in divestment by 2020.