SFSU votes to divest investment in coal, tar sands

San Francisco State Univ. votes to stop investing endowment in coal and tar sands companies

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco State University will stop investing its endowment in coal and tar sands companies, joining a growing list of universities that are avoiding investments in fossil fuels, the school said Tuesday.

The university's foundation, which oversees a $51.2 million endowment, also voted in May to look into removing all future investments in fossil fuels companies.

SFSU's decision was announced as part of the national Fossil Free divestment campaign, an advocacy strategy modeled after the anti-apartheid efforts of the 1980s. It aims to limit investments in fossil fuel companies by making their stocks morally and financially unattractive.

Five schools — Unity College and College of the Atlantic in Maine, Hampshire College in Massachusetts, and Sterling and Green Mountain colleges in Vermont — have also voted to divest, according to 350.org, Fossil Free's parent group.

The campaign targets investments in companies that own most of the world's coal, oil and natural gas reserves.

Some schools have argued that divestment would harm their endowments because in many cases there is no ready alternative to fossil fuels.

The global economy is still powered by coal, oil and natural gas, and cheap low-carbon fuels aren't widely available.

Still, the divestment campaign has spread with cities like San Francisco, Berkeley and Santa Monica committing to some form of divestment.

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