It seems that more and more companies nowadays are looking for ways to invest in a long-term solution to the energy crisis. It is not that we are having significant shortages in fossil fuels, but corporations and institutions worldwide are arranging for divestment from our most common energy resource mostly because of how it affects the environment.
The Danger of Fossil Fuels Brought to Light
Fossil fuels have always been humanity’s most common energy resource. However, as more and more of its effects to the Earth and the environment are brought to light courtesy of years of study and discovery, it is slowly losing favor amongst a majority of interest groups worldwide. It is becoming more and more clear — and, with the advent of the Internet and free information, more obvious — that fossil fuels and its byproducts (i.e. coal, carbon, petroleum, etc.) have ramifications on the ecosystem that do more harm than good in the long run.
The massive carbon footprint with the continued use of this resource just cannot be ignored. It is known that emissions from fossil fuel byproducts can be directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the ozone layer. Aside from this, it is also a major player on climate change, which in turn affects more serious issues like global warming.
The “Paris Climate Agreement” of 2015
The need to find alternatives is not lost to the people of the world, and certainly not to its leaders. Just December of last year, action was taken within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), proposing that its member nations sign a treaty that will try to deal with this problem once and for all. Dubbed the “Paris Agreement” (or the “Paris Climate Agreement”), one of the treaty’s aims is to direct “finance pathways” to lower greenhouse gas emissions and thus help mitigate climate change. It also encourages industrial development to ventures that will have less impact on the already erratic climate phases the world is experiencing today.
The Rise of Fossil Fuel Divestment
The Paris Agreement is also believed to be a major driver in fossil fuel divestment,” a movement which became a massive undertaking by companies, corporations, and institutions around the world. This movement prompts said entities to completely divert their interests — that includes stocks, bonds, funds, among other investments — into industries that has to do less with the extraction and usage of fossil fuels, if at all.
The Growth of a Movement, a Mere 15 Months Later
Now, a year later since the Paris Agreement was signed, we see that more and more companies from around the world are divesting from fossil fuels. In the past 15 months, entities controlling around $5.197 trillion in assets are reported to be divesting, pledging to join perhaps one massive boycott of centuries of industry, in the hopes of bettering the planet.
This report was announced during the first anniversary of the Paris Agreement. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself has stated that “the transition to a clean energy future is inevitable, beneficial and well underway.” He expressed his delight in the development, commending investors that decided to take a rather big leap away from the damaging resource. Ki-moon also added that investing in clean energy is the “right thing to do,” further elaborating that this is the “smart” way to build prosperity in the long run — that is, without risking factors that make our planet comfortably habitable not only for us but for the generations that follow, as well.
The growth of the fossil fuel divestment movement is a striking display of human cooperation, as what started as a small whisper in a few colleges in the U.S has now become a loud voice that can be heard across nations. It is a sign that we, humanity as a collective, still care about the planet and that even massive corporations are willing to participate in such an undertaking.
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