Energy

Anti-Fossil Fuel Crowd Says Renewable Investments Are The Same As Divestments

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Environmentalists called United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision Wednesday to urge companies to invest more in green energy a win for the fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Activists with 350.org, an environmental group campaigning to ditch fossil fuel investments, called Ki-moon’s appeal for companies to “double” their green energy investment a big win for campaigners fighting coal, gas and oil.

“I challenge investors to double at a minimum their clean energy investment by 2020,” Ki-moon said during the Investor Summit, the first major climate meeting since December.

“Sustainable clean energy is growing but not nearly fast enough to meet energy demand of what science says. The investor community is of critical importance if we are going to move from aspiration to action,” he continued.

Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, said in a press statement, “the arguments against divestment are all quickly falling away.”

“Divesting from coal, oil and gas and reinvesting in just, sustainable energy solutions is one of the most important things an institution can do to help combat the climate crisis,” Henn added.

The statement goes on to note that Ki-moon’s request makes clear the UN’s full support to purge the world of fossil fuels. Yet, some critics believe 350.org is trying to appropriate the UN chief’s message for their own designs.

350.org has a long history of tossing as much stuff at the wall as possible … hoping it will stick; they did it with the XL Pipeline, and now, apparently, they’re doing it here with the Secretary-General’s calls for more renewable energy investments,” Dan Kish, the senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I mean — at least in this instance — Ban Ki-moon didn’t say anything about divesting from oil or coal,” Kish said, “Instead, he simply gave a proclamation to a bunch of energy companies to invest more in renewables.”

Yet they still took his comments today as a win for divestment, Kish continued.

The Secretary-General advocated for fossil fuel divestment during a 2014 presentation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) in Copenhagen.

“I have been urging companies like pension funds or insurance companies to reduce their investments in coal and a fossil-fuel based economy to move to renewable sources of energy,” the UN chief said.

But he didn’t broach the topic during his remarks Wednesday.

During the Paris Climate Summit in December, 350.org claimed that over 500 institutions representing over $3.4 trillion in assets have made fossil fuel purges.

That number, progressive news outlet Mother Jones noted, has little to do with the amount of fossil fuel assets institutions have jettisoned in the past. Instead, that $3.4 trillion number refers to the entire size of assets by those institutions. Mother Jones suggests the number is probably closer to $182 billion.

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