Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.

As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Umass Amherst to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of UMass Amherst will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.

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President Robert Caret:

Through its commitment to providing affordable, accessible, and high-quality education to its students, the University of Massachusetts System is the treasure of the Commonwealth. However, as long as the UMass endowment fund is invested in the fossil fuel industry, this commitment is rendered meaningless. Industry leaders fund fake science and pay politicians to act in their interests, using their wealth to forestall a transition to clean energy sources in the face of climate disaster. The science is unequivocal: inaction on the climate crisis will threaten the survival of mankind. Business as usual will ensure that today’s students inherit a planet that cannot sustain them. Investing in these companies that place profit over human life undermines the commitment that UMass makes to its students, whose education will not prepare them for a world defined by climate chaos. You are in a unique position to make sure that the UMass endowment really does serve the needs of the students of the Commonwealth. Please vote to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies and divest completely from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.


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