A moral imperative

We care about the impacts of climate change, so we believe it is unethical to profit from fossil fuel companies that are not taking meaningful action to reduce global emissions to zero.

1. Preserving a safe climate

Under the Paris Agreement, all countries committed to keep global temperature rise to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

Simply put, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.

To have a chance of achieving this, more than 75% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground, and exploration for new reserves must stop.

1. Preserving a safe climate CO2 Emissions need to peak by 2020 and reduce to zero by 2040.

On climate change, there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.

Pope Francis

2. Filling the renewable investment gap

To meet the Paris climate goals, investment in new renewable power generation must increase 75% above the current expected trajectory. That amounts to a $12.1 trillion investment opportunity in new renewable electric power generation over 25 years, or $485bn per year on average.

The “gap” between meeting this challenge and investment forecast to occur anyway is $5.2 trillion, or $208bn per year over 25 years. This is achievable; $583 billion was invested in exploration and production of oil and gas in 2015. DivestInvest is about filling this gap, and reallocating this capital.

We’re making progress. The assets under management of organizations committed to DivestInvest was $5.5 trillion in Spring 2017.

2. Filling the renewable investment gap

3. Standing up to fossil fuel companies blocking action

Fossil fuel companies have known that their businesses were responsible for causing climate change for decades. In that time, they’ve ignored shareholder requests to change their business plans to the scale needed. The amount they invest in renewables is negligible. The 10 largest companies spent just 1.5% of their capital expenditure on low carbon investments in 2016.

Studies show that companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying against government policy while publicly supporting calls for change. Shell alone spent $22 million in 2015. Investors have tried unsuccessfully to persuade companies to change their business models for decades.

DivestInvest is the obvious step for investors who don’t believe the fossil fuel companies can or will shift their businesses to succeed in a net zero economy, and who want to signal that that they do not want to support companies that pose such a threat.

3. Standing up to fossil fuel companies blocking action BP's Deepwater Horizon Explosition 2010.

Renewables is only 5% of the strategy...We are an oil and gas company.

Patrick Pouyanné, CEO, Total

4. Investors need to strengthen government policy progress

The number of national and local government policies that promote zero-carbon energy is increasing around the world. Investors have an opportunity to support and strengthen this shift by signaling their values through DivestInvest.

The idea that fossil fuel energy is needed to unlock energy access for the developing world – especially in Africa and Asia – is a myth. Renewables can feasibly provide cheaper, more reliable and safer energy in all parts of the world, with many more jobs.

4. Investors need to strengthen government policy progress Signing the Paris Agreement, 2015

Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 – enough to meet global climate and development targets – would result in more than 24 million jobs worldwide.

The International Renewable Energy Agency

5. Aligning values with action

We all believe that damaging the climate is wrong; aiming to profit from the companies doing the damage must therefore also be wrong. This is a legal issue for some investors, it’s a moral issue for all of us. DivestInvest is one of the most effective ways for investors to align their values with their actions, and take responsibility for the resources they control.

At its core, DivestInvest is a question of doing what we can with what we have.

5. Aligning values with action Installling a solar panel, Bhutan. Photo by Asian Development Bank

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