Friday, February 13, 2015

Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels

Carbon parts per million are past 400 and counting, but the folks at are undeterred. Students at numerous campuses here in Boston were demonstrating for divestment--themed for Valentine's Day as 'Breaking up with fossil fuels'--including at Harvard, where students occupied the offices of Harvard's President to demand that the world's largest private endowment come clean. President Faust once again said no, but what can you expect from a President named Faust? Similar actions were taking place at Boston College, Boston U., Brandeis, and campuses across the state and nation. Apparently the young understand better than many of their elders what sort of world we are preparing to leave for them.

Meanwhile reports actions in 188 countries in favor of divestment. No, the big energy corporations aren't going to agree voluntarily to leave their trillions of assets in the ground--even though the simple math tells us that that's the only path back from disaster. But the symbolic demand of these climate change foot soldiers is a useful reminder of how large a change is necessary in the structures of capital investment, profitability, and the energy mega-industries. As Neil Sedaka tells us, Breakin' up is hard to do.

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