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Emissions Impossible Divest-Invest - The January, 2018 edition

Vice President Robbiie Young shares his top 3 updates on the Divest-Invest: Emissions Impossible campaign, in the third edition of this monthly blog.

As I wrote this blog piece, I took some time to reflect. To really think about how far divestment & reinvestment has come in the past year: over one-third of UK universities have now committed to divest (with some having already moved their fossil capital into renewable alternatives), there are campaigns taking place at 60 institutions & we�ve made links with a whole range of amazing grassroots organisers & organisations � from student activists & officers to Culture Unstained.

Our partnership with People & Planet � the formidable grassroots campaigning organisation who started the Fossil Free Campaign back in 2013 - has also strengthened. This is evidenced in our joint Strategy Day at the Students� Union at UWE back in September, our joint submission to the University of Cambridge�s Divestment Working Group and some impressive coverage in the UK media. The latter has included a front page exclusive with the Financial Times about our joint submission.

With the fossil fuel industry�s social license to operate as it currently does being increasingly challenged we will have to organise even harder as it tries to maintain its hold over our educational institutions & communities. This means we must cultivate strong relationships, premised on solidarity, with those on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction & climate change. We must centre frontline & indigenous stories & voices. And take a lead from them as we push for a just transition. All whilst pushing back at institutional conflicts of interest & putting forward ever more nuanced demands about where divested money is reinvested & how that decision is made.

With all of this in mind, here are three of my highlights from the past month of organising:

  1. On Wednesday 17th January we launched two new resources: our community energy briefing & our stranded assets note. Our community energy briefing outlines why our educational institutions should be developing on-campus community owned renewable projects as part of their reinvestment of fossil capital. Developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett Students� Union, with guidance from Solar SOAS, it was written to reorient Leeds Beckett�s investment discussions away from large scale corporations and into initiatives that form part of the just transition to a low-carbon world. Our stranded assets note seeks to demystify stranded assets theory � the main financial argument for divestment from fossil fuels. It aims to build campaigner confidence in articulating this to senior management as part of discussions for a fossil fuel divestment commitment. 


  1. Preparations for People & Planet�s Go Green Week are well underway & as part of it we will be supporting with a number of activities. These include targeting institutions who are able to sign the Fossil Fuel Declaration & a series of blogs that explore climate justice from different liberation perspectives. On top of this we are super excited about the frontlines solidarity webinar that we are co-organising & hosting on the 13th February at 12pm. This webinar will platform the voices of South East Asian activists resisting fossil fuels & explore how UK activists can support frontline struggles. SIGN UP TO JOIN US TODAY!


  1. Alongside Huddersfield announcing their divestment & Cambridge's Zero Carbon Society launching their phenomenal submission to the university's divestment working group, we have also seen New York City both commit to divest from fossil fuels and take BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell to court for their contributions to climate change. This is massive & reminds me that we need to be linking up with folks campaigning for divestment in other sectors. In order to make this happen, check out 350.org�s Fossil Free UK Gathering 2018. It promises to be an amazing event!


Dates for your diaries:

12th-16th February: People & Planet�s Go Green Week

13th February, 12pm: frontlines solidarity webinar, co-organised & hosted with People & Planet as part of Go Green Week

23rd-25th March: Fossil Free UK Gathering 2018