This is major, major news. On the same day that the National Climate Assessment was released, which gave dramatic evidence of the climate change impacts happening already all around the US, Stanford has taken the huge step to begin divesting its endowment from coal. It's the first major school to do so.
While the effect is largely symbolic, I do think this could be a turning point in the school divestment movement and other major schools and pension funds could follow suit. Most importantly, it highlights that a major institution with an 18.7 billion dollar endowment has acknowledged the moral imperative of addressing climate change - that investing in the technologies that cause climate change are fundamentally and morally at odds with its education mission. I'm proud to be a Stanford alum.
Stanford University announced Tuesday that it would divest its $18.7 billion endowment of stock in coal-mining companies, becoming the first major university to lend support to a nationwide campaign to purge endowments and pension funds of fossil fuel investments. The university said it acted in accordance with internal guidelines that allow its trustees to consider whether “corporate policies or practices create substantial social injury” when choosing investments. Coal’s status as a major source of carbon pollution linked to climate change persuaded the trustees to remove companies “whose principal business is coal” from their investment portfolio, the university said.