Harvard must divest from fossil fuels – Opinion – The Boston Globe | Divest Harvard


Pedestrians crossed the campus of Harvard University.

By Alice M. Cherry, Joseph E. Hamilton and Kelsey C. Skaggs November 20, 2014

On Wednesday, we filed a lawsuit against the Harvard Corporation over its investments in fossil fuels. As student members of the Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, we’re demanding that our university stop profiting from the destruction of the earth’s climate and that it divest its holdings in gas, oil, and coal companies.

Our legal claims are simple. Harvard is a nonprofit educational institution, chartered in 1650 to promote “the advancement and education of youth.” By financially supporting the most dangerous industrial activities in the history of the planet, the Harvard Corporation is violating commitments under its charter as well as its charitable duty to operate in the public interest.

We’re also suing on behalf of future generations. By investing in the extraction of fossil fuels, the Harvard Corporation is actively supporting the destruction of the earth’s atmosphere and the catastrophic consequences that will be visited upon our children and grandchildren. It is our duty to give voice to these coming generations and to hold the Corporation accountable for its reckless and shortsighted behavior.

Our suit charges that the Harvard Corporation is breaching its duties under its charter by investing in fossil fuel companies. Our second count is a novel tort claim, intentional investment in abnormally dangerous activities, that is based in well-established legal principles regarding liability for promoting especially hazardous behavior.

As law students (the other four plaintiffs in the suit study physics, biology, history, and literature), we also recognize that courts — like our other institutions — have been slow to address global warming. In bringing this lawsuit, we hope to push our legal system toward a more responsible, and more realistic, reckoning with the disaster of climate change. The Harvard Corporation may twiddle its thumbs while the temperature rises. But the planet cannot wait.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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