Al Gore calls for fossil fuel divestment at Harvard

Published on Apr 9, 2016
Al Gore discussing his call for fossil fuel divestment in 2013 and how, in 2016, Harvard has still refused to divest from fossil fuels.

Transcript: “[There are] trillion[s of] dollars of stranded subprime carbon assets, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the investment community analyzing the great global shift, now. And I suggested that it’d be good for Harvard to take a look at the spreadsheet analysis of what was likely to happen. Well, according to three different NGOs in the three years since then, the Harvard endowment has lost roughly 200 million dollars on the carbon assets that were kept. And I don’t mean that in a…well, I don’t mean it in a mean way at all, but I care about this institution a great deal, as Mike [McElroy] said, I was an Overseer, and I love this place so much.

The behavioral scientists talk about the “endowment bias” – no pun intended. They also talk about the “status quo bias” or the “system justification principle” – we have a need to believe that things are basically ok, and if they’re not, it creates anxiety, so we try to push it off. We need to speed up the shift away from dirty, carbon-rich fuels toward a true renewable economy. And I would dearly love, for economic reasons alone, to see Harvard leading the way.”

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