Trustees Divestment Update

Dear Trustee:

We are writing with a brief update on the Divest Carleton movement and the wider divestment movement’s progress over the last few months.

A few weeks ago, we emailed Mr. Weitz and Mr. Wender regarding a change to Carleton’s endowment: the College no longer holds any direct fossil fuel investments. The Carletonian ran our letter in its January 17, 2020, edition. You can read it yourself here:

This is a significant step forward, though we remain concerned that the College has made no commitment not to reinvest in such holdings. We also urge divestment from fossil fuel companies in the commingled funds.

As you may be aware, the fossil fuel divestment movement has been gaining strength. When students and alumni disrupted the Harvard/Yale football game in November, they brought it to the world’s attention. Just last week, the student body presidents of every Big 10 university passed a resolution calling for their schools to divest from fossil fuels, stating that colleges “cannot be truly carbon neutral while investing billions in the fossil fuel industry.” All types of institutions are joining the movement, from Simon Frasier University to faith organizations to the Welsh Assembly, which just divested its pension fund. Altogether, 1181 institutions with managed assets of nearly $14 trillion have committed to divesting from fossil fuels.

This progress has been fueled by a widening realization that these investments are neither environmentally nor financially sustainable. Scientists continue to issue warnings about tipping points and shrinking timelines. In November, the European Investment Bank announced they would cease funding fossil fuel projects at the end of 2021. In December, Goldman Sachs restricted its financing for coal and Arctic oil projects. BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, announced last month that they will limit their investments in coal and will build stronger ESG and sustainable portfolio options. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, told CEOs, “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

The growing threat of climate change and the diminishing prospects of fossil fuel companies will continue to sharpen into focus as time goes by. We will continue to fight for Carleton’s present and future students. We hope you’ll join them and us, and commit to a policy of fossil fuel divestment.

Rebecca Hahn ’09, on behalf of the alumni of Divest Carleton

Divest Carleton alumni petition statistics, December 2019

Happy December, Divest Carleton community!

In 2019, we have added 264 new names to the alumni divestment petition, for a current total of 1610! These include several current students as well as Carleton family and friends, in addition to 245 alumni. 1509 living alumni, representing 68 class years, have now signed the petition.

We thought it would be interesting to do an analysis of which classes currently have the most signatures on the petition and which added the most names over the last year. We hope this encourages you to reach out to your classmates and friends to join our movement! The stronger we get, the louder our voice, and the more of an impact we can make in pushing Carleton to divest its endowment from fossil fuels.

Continue reading

President Poskanzer refuses alumni request to add Carleton’s name to Climate Emergency Letter

On July 18, 2019, forty-seven Carleton alumni emailed a simple request to President Poskanzer.

Dear President Poskanzer,

We write to urge you to add Carleton’s name to a Climate Emergency Letter to be shared with key government officials and the media prior to this September’s UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit. This letter has been organized by the EAUC (the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education), the UN Environment’s Youth and Education Alliance, and Second Nature. Carleton is a member of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network. Continue reading

Welcome to Divest Carleton!

We are a committed group of alumni and students calling on Carleton College to divest its endowment from the 200 largest fossil fuel companies. We join students at more than 300 colleges and universities around the country in asking our administration to take the next step toward real action on climate change.

In order to combat climate change, we need significant national policies aimed at cutting emissions. Currently, the fossil fuel industry has enormous influence on U.S. politics through political campaign contributions and the funding of lobbyists. The divestment campaign aims to lessen the political influence of fossil fuel companies by targeting the industry’s reputation to make it a less enticing source of campaign funds. Divestment aims to change the way the public, governments, and investors view fossil fuel companies in order to create a political climate where large-scale action on climate change is feasible.