‘Keep it in the ground. Join us in urging the world’s two biggest charitable funds to move their money out of fossil fuels,’ urges the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Below is the text of the petition they have launched today:
To Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Jeremy Farrar and Sir William Castell, director and chair of the Wellcome Trust:
Your organisations have made a huge contribution to human progress and equality by supporting scientific research and development projects. Yet your investments in fossil fuels are putting this progress at great risk, by undermining your long term ambitions.
Climate change poses a real threat to all of us, and it is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal. Many philanthropic organisations are divesting their endowments from fossil fuels. We ask you to do the same: to commit now to divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies.
Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor-in-chief, explains why they have launched the petition:
‘The argument for a campaign to divest from the world’s most polluting companies is becoming an overwhelming one, on both moral and financial grounds. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”
‘Divestment serves to delegitimise the business models of companies that are using investors’ money to search for yet more coal, oil and gas that can’t safely be burned. It is a small but crucial step in the economic transition away from a global economy run on fossil fuels.
‘The usual rule of newspaper campaigns is that you don’t start one unless you know you’re going to win it. This one will almost certainly be won in time: the physics is unarguable. But we are launching our campaign today in the firm belief that it will force the issue now into the boardrooms and inboxes of people who have billions of dollars at their disposal.’