Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow has announced that the institution will divest from its fossil fuel holdings. The announcement came Tuesday, stating that the institution has already been cutting its investments in fossil fuels.

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Currently, Harvard University’s investment arm, Harvard Management Company, oversees the institution’s endowment of about $42 billion. The company has been steadily divesting its interests from fossil fuel entities. Today, the university has no direct investment in companies exploring further reserves of fossil fuels, according to Bacow.

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Harvard’s final fossil fuel-related investments come from legacy investments in several private equity funds. Bacow says these indirect investments constitute less than 2% of the university’s total endowment. While the indirect investments will not end immediately, Bacow claims they are in “runoff mode” and will end when the partnerships are liquidated.

The decision comes after many years of intense lobbying and protests. Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, a campaign started by students at the university over a decade ago, declared the recent news a victory.

“It took conversations and protests, meetings with administration, faculty/alumni votes, mass sit-ins and arrests, historic legal strategies, and storming football fields. But today, we can see proof that activism works, plain and simple,” Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard wrote in a statement.

Former Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore also welcomed the news via Twitter. “Let this be a strong signal to other institutions that the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close,” Gore tweeted.

Harvard has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across its investment portfolio. The university has pledged to continue supporting its investment arm and aligning it with decarbonization goals.

“Given the need to decarbonize the economy and our responsibility as fiduciaries to make long-term investment decisions that support our teaching and research mission, we do not believe such investments are prudent,” Bacow wrote.

Via The Guardian

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