Today the Vice-Chancellor announced in his start of term address that Cambridge University has made a landmark commitment to fully divest their £3.5bn endowment from the fossil fuel industry by 2030.
Cambridge SU welcomes this absolutely momentous decision which comes as a direct result of five years of dedicated campaigning by students, staff and the Students’ Union at the University. It is a testament to the power of grassroots campaigning and should be recognised as such.
This commitment also importantly marks a historic break between the University and the fossil fuel industry which is driving climate breakdown and detrimentally impacting vulnerable communities globally. However, Cambridge has deep-seated links with the fossil fuel industry which extend beyond merely financial investment to include the acceptance of research funding and sponsorship for professorships, as well as the undertaking of extractivist research. These ties must be cut if the University is to truly commit to meaningful climate action.
The immediacy of the climate crisis must be recognised and higher education institutions have a crucial role to play in proactively reducing the social licence of damaging industries.