Climate change activists at the University of Michigan compared the school’s decision last week not to give up fossil fuels to the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel’s anti-divestment stance was met with condemnation from the school’s divestment activists. Members of Divest and Invest, a group affiliated with climate change activist Bill McKibben, published an editorial in the school’s newspaper, The Michigan Daily, arguing that Schlissel’s statement downplayed the import of nixing fossil fuel assets.
“I do not believe that a persuasive argument has been made that divestment by the U-M will speed up the necessary transition from coal to renewable or less polluting sources of energy,” Schlissel noted in a statement on the university’s website, adding that he does not believe that divesting from fossil fuels is a moral imperative.
“He is correct regarding our school’s reliance on fossil fuels,” the Divest and Invest statement read, “but he fails to address the issue of whether the fossil fuel industry is morally suspect. Fossil fuel combustion is causing climate change that will have adverse, disproportionate and irreversible effects on billions of people — mostly on women, people of color and others who have contributed little to the problem.”
“Our campaign has exposed the moral implications of supporting fossil fuel industries. Resolutions passed by the Central Student Government and the Senate Assembly in support of our position urge the Board of Regents to form a committee to examine divestment,” they continued.
The group concluded its editorial by requesting that Schlissel and the Board of Regents hold a public meeting to continue discussing divestment. The formation of a committee is clearly warranted, the statement suggested. The University was not cowed by the editorial.
UM media spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald told The Daily Caller News Foundation that President Schlissel has nothing more to offer the divestment campaign. The University has made its decision, and there is nothing more to discuss, Fitzgerald said.
He added: “The President and the University have decided to move on.”
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