An anti-fossil fuel group at Yale University, Fossil Free Yale (FFY), have been forced to indefinitely postpone a protest they had planned this weekend due to cold weather conditions in Connecticut.
“[The event] here on campus will reflect the growing movement as we recognize that we are participating in a global day of action,” FFY member Maya Jenkins told the Yale Daily. “Globally, the divestment campaign is really turning up the heat against fossil fuels by changing the traditional conversation around them.”
Environmentalists began pushing for schools in the last couple of years, signaling a new approach to how they plan on tackling global warming. If they can’t regulate them out of existence, they will target their investors.
“The fossil fuel divestment movement has grown exponentially over the last two years–now it’s going global,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, the group that started the divestment movement. “From the Pacific Islands to South Africa, from the United States to Germany, people are standing up and challenging the power of the fossil fuel industry. We know that fossil fuels are the past and clean energy is the future.”
But divestment has been criticized by global warming skeptics, conservatives and even liberals. The American Security Project, a D.C.-based left-wing think tank, argued that divestment will “not cause any meaningful ﬁnancial impact to fossil fuel companies, but could hurt the universities and colleges dependent on fossil fuel share dividends.”
So far the divestment movement has met with little success as most colleges and universities have rejected calls to divest themselves of fossil fuel holdings, saying it would hurt their abilities to provide scholarships and other opportunities for students.
Harvard was one such school to reject fossil fuel divestment. In protest, 40 students with Divest Harvard staged a sit-in in the same building as Harvard President Drew Faust’s office. But even as some students become more adamant about divesting, others are finding it to be counterproductive.
“Disrupting University business is not open debate, it is not free speech, and it is not a productive way to move forward on this desperately critical issue,” reads a Harvard Crimson editorial. “Harvard deserves better, and so does the environment.”
The North East has been pummeled by poor weather and snow all week and Yale’s divestment rally is not the first global warming event to be cancelled. Earlier this week, a state legislature forum on global warming was cancelled due to bad weather.
“I hope these repeated, severe storms serve as a platform for some important conversations around bolstering our natural and built infrastructure against climate change once a new date has been set for this discussion,” said Democratic State Sen. Marc Pacheco, who chairs the state senate committee that organized the summit.