Fossil Free MIT Ends Months-Long Sit-In, MIT Still Refuses To Divest Oil Assets

(REUTERS/Mal Langsdon)

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Fossil Free MIT agreed to end its months-long sit-in for fossil fuel divestment after activists and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) administrator came to an agreement on global warming policies, which does not include purging the school of its oil and gas assets.

In a join statement, the school and group committed to becoming a carbon neutral campus “as soon as possible,” convene a forum on the ethics of global warming and create a committee advising the school how to move forward on its Climate Action Plan.

The agreement ended Fossil Free MIT’s sit-in, which began last year, on Oct. 22.

Calls for fossil fuel divestment came from all aspects of the alarmist crowd, including more than 30 climate scientists and environmental activists – among them, so-called grandfather of the climate change movement James Hansen, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Steven Heintz and actor Mark Ruffalo.

The agreement does not include forcing the school to jettison $13.5 billion fossil fuel assets, which has prompted Fossil Free MIT members to spark a hint of frustration.

“This agreement isn’t everything I was hoping to see—it’s missing fossil fuel divestment, and MIT still has more work to do to align itself with a 2°C future,” Jeremy Poindexter, an MIT student and member of Fossil Free MIT, said in a press statement. “But it’s progress, and it shows that principled, direct action can get real results. Sometimes taking a stand means sitting down.”

“So much more needs to happen. This agreement is about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Fossil Free MIT member Benjamin Scandella added.

Scandella went on to note his frustration with MIT’s willingness to use the fossil fuel industry to combat global warming, telling Fossil Free MIT’s faithful in the statement that he’s “skeptical that it represents the best approach given the urgency of the problem.”

MIT’s anti-fossil fuel protesters were awarded the MIT Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award in February for striking at the roots of the fossil fuel industry on the MIT campus.

The Institute chose not to divest in October, with the school’s president telling the fossil free crowd the best way to fight global warming is to use the technology oil producers and others in the fossil fuel industry provide to lessen carbon emissions.

“We choose not to divest from fossil fuel companies because we think engagement stands the greatest chance of success,” MIT president, L Rafael Reif, said in a conference call with reporters. “MIT seeks to convene key players with the goal of helping drive significant progress for the world. There is a great deal to do and we are eager to get started.”

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