New report suggests divestment would have little impact

February 2, 2015

According to a new report by UBC researchers working at the UVic-hosted Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, a university divestment campaigns are unlikely to impact climate change or to protect investments from the volatile oil-based market. The authors note that because Canada’s economy is so closely tied to “fossil energy,” most stocks are still linked in some way to the oil and gas sector, and that divestment will not result in reduced production of oil, gas, or coal because foreign governments control most of the world’s supply. The paper states that if UBC were to divest its approximately $100-M endowment, substituting renewable stocks, the portfolio’s holdings linked to greenhouse gases would only be reduced by 3%. However, the authors do offer some suggestions for universities to help Canada move towards a clean-energy economy, such as the creation of a parallel portfolio that gives donors an option of supporting renewable energy. UBC faculty are currently voting in an online referendum whether to ask the board to divest itself from fossil fuel stocks. Globe and Mail