Another UK university has joined the ranks of other institutions which have divested from fossil fuels, following years of campaigning by students in support of the Fossil Free movement.

King’s College London has become the 26th university stop investing in tar sands and thermal coal, considered some of the worst culprits in climate change due to high carbon emissions when using them to produce electricity.

The university currently has an estimated £14.3-17.9 million in fossil fuels – the sixth largest out of all UK universities.

Not only is it halting investments into fossil fuel, the university’s new ethical investment policy also includes a clause that 15 percent of its endowment will instead be put into green energy alternatives.

This means that millions of its £179 million endowment will now go into clean energy.

The new policy was suggested by King’s Socially Responsible Investment review committee, and endorsed by the chairman’s committee.

In its recommendations, the review committee said that the university should “direct its investment managers to develop a plan enabling divestment on King’s behalf from companies involved in the extraction of the most ‘dirty’ fossil fuels such as tar sands oil and thermal coal.

“In practice this would mean divesting from companies where more than 10 percent of their revenues are derived from these fossil fuels on the basis that such companies are unlikely to be a contributor to the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

King’s President and Principal Edward Byrne said in a statement that he was pleased with the recommendations, as he believed that universities must “set an example”.

“King’s is a force for good in the many diverse societies it serves and is committed to playing its part in aiding the vital transition to a low carbon economy.  We recognise that the overwhelming evidence suggests the world’s climate is changing, and that much of this change is due to our dependence on fossil fuels.

“The journey to becoming a more sustainable society is long and universities play a crucial part. If we are going to champion sustainability, we must also be champions of how we act so that our energy footprint is as modest as it possibly can be,” he added.

Tytus Murphy, a former PhD student at the university, told the Guardian: “Our principal and senior management should be commended for agreeing to use the college’s endowment as a force for good by investing in a future world powered by clean energy.”

While King’s divestment is only a partial one, for Fossil Free supporters, it’s a step in the right direction.

For a full list of UK universities and other organizations which have committed to partially or fully divesting from fossil fuels, visit Go Fossil

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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