Today, the University of Warwick has announced that it will divest from fossil fuels.
After two long years of campaigning, organising and gathering widespread support, this is a huge victory for Fossil Free Warwick. We are deeply grateful to our Sabbatical Officers Cat Turhan and Rob Anckorn for working tirelessly on this issue in Council.
As the planet hurtles towards 2 degree warming, it is more important now than ever for universities to dissolve their ties with the fossil fuel industry and thereby remove its social license to operate. The university is no place for the fossil fuel industry, which is on track to destroy the future of its students and defy the research of its academics.
This win is a testament to what we can achieve when we organise collectively and unite around a common passion. We have lobbied, we have demonstrated, we have marched… and now we have won!
But the fight against the fossil fuel industry and for climate justice is not over yet. There remain plenty of frontiers on our university campuses that the fossil fuel industry still occupy and its power is still pervasive. The University of Warwick’s Modern Records Centre still hosts the BP Archive, where key research into renewable technologies is being concealed from the public, contrary to the BP Chairman’s recent statements. A great proportion of our campus is owned by the automotive industry, notorious for its support of climate change denialism and stalling of mitigation strategy.
Nor is this a complete victory for the University’s democratic channels. Throughout our campaign, we have been repeatedly sidelined and excluded from decision-making processes. We cannot forget that only six months ago, police were called onto campus where they used violence to repress peaceful student protest. The student movement still has a long way to go, but we are ready for what the future holds and we are more determined than ever.
Fossil Free Warwick meets weekly during term time, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. This is just the beginning, and the fight for climate justice spans the globe. Join us in the next phase of our campaign.