demands 

We demand that Yale disclose & divest all holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Yale profits off of climate destruction. We envision and demand a university that invests in our city and our futures. 

 

We demand that Yale disclose its holdings in fossil fuel companies and divest from the fossil fuel industry. The business model of the fossil fuel industry is inherently exploitative and uniquely culpable in the climate crisis. Against the backdrop of rising sea-levels, violent once-in-a-generation natural disasters, and an environmentally regressive government, investing in fossil fuels is both deplorable and inexcusable. We know that Yale has at least $800 million invested in the fossil fuel industry (~2.6% of its $42.3 billion endowment), including $263.052 million in EQT Corp, the largest natural gas producer in Appalachia. The millions were made public as of November 2021 due to the cessation of a private partnership with external fund managers. There are still hundreds of millions of dollars at stake behind the veil of these opaque partnerships. Yale is also still profiting academically and financially from coal companies despite promising full divestment in its plan to implement fossil fuel investment principles. Yale should be transparent about these investments, and Yale needs to divest completely.

 

There is international scientific consensus that a global transformation away from a fossil fuel based economy is urgently necessary. Just last year, leading global climate scientists published the landmark IPCC report, stating that we have merely 8 years to keep global warming below the 1.5° Celsius brightline. Warming past this brightline will mean exponentially increased food scarcity, climate poverty, extreme weather, and forced migration. All of these consequences are already affecting marginalized people in disproportionate and unjust ways. We know that climate change is not just an environmental issue; it is a racial and economic justice issue too. Despite the overwhelming consensus that we need to radically slow the extraction of fossil fuels in order to address the climate crisis, the Yale investments office faults consumers, not producers, for causing climate change. 

 

The business model of fossil fuel companies is predicated on growth. They already own enough fossil fuels to push us past 1.5C of warming. Evaluating fossil fuel producers based on criteria such as whether they are reducing emissions is ridiculous. Yale needs to implement a comprehensive and consistent stance against all fossil fuel producers and not expend critical time deciding “bad” from “worse.” The Fall 2020 YCC Survey shows that a majority of students (889 of 1247) agreed or strongly agreed that Yale should immediately divest from all fossil fuel investments.

 

Furthermore, fossil fuel companies have actively financed disinformation campaigns that refute the reality of the climate crisis. As an educational institution, Yale cannot continue to ethically contribute to these companies’ growth. Fossil fuel companies have historically been the leading producers of misinformation around climate change and its causes. Though the industry has known about climate change for 60 years, it has chosen to implement a strategy of uplifting fake experts, funding disinformation propaganda, and playing on partisan sentiment to obfuscate the reality of climate change rather than act to prevent it. As an institution whose very mission statement dedicates the University to seeking light and truth, Yale cannot support an industry that has irreversibly damaged the public’s faith in the academy and scientific evidence on an issue of existential importance. 

 

Fossil fuel producers cause grave social injury at a global scale. ANY company or financial manager that is involved in profiting from the extraction, processing, or delivery of fossil fuels is actively harming the Earth’s climate, and in turn, advancing social harm and environmental racism.

 

Together, students and other New Haven residents stand against the way that Yale invests in climate injustice while mirroring the same extractive paradigms right here in New Haven. Yale claims to be committed to higher and more humane goals than simple profit motives, but in practice prioritizes its own power, prestige, and wealth rather than the wellbeing of the entire community. Yale dominates the land and labor markets of New Haven, and uses this dominance to its advantage by continuing to buy up property in the city and fighting unionism.

 

The time has come for direct action. We demand that Yale consider our future instead of acting in a single-minded pursuit of profit. We have attempted to work through the administrative channels available and found that they served instead as administrative obstacles. We even learned that as we proceeded in what we thought were good faith negotiations with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, its chair was campaigning to be on the Hess Corporation’s Board of Trustees. Multiple members of the Yale Corporation and the Board of Trustees held or hold high positions in fossil fuel companies. 

 

The Yale investments office is massively influential in the world of endowments. Right now, they are invested in climate destruction through fossil fuels. They justify these investments through a willful naivete that amounts to gross negligence. Yale could invest in the economic transformation climate change requires. Their decision to divest from fossil fuels would have reverberations around the world. 

 

Students and New Haven are powerful, and we will hold this university accountable!

These demands were written in Spring 2022 — see The Yale Endowment for our most up-to-date information on Yale's investments.

Groups signing in support
  • Despierta Boricua at Yale

  • Yale Women's Center

  • Fossil Free Yale

  • Association of Native Americans at Yale

  • Yale Young Democratic Socialists of America

  • 350 CT

  • Local 33 UNITE HERE

  • New Haven Climate Movement

  • Party for Socialism and Liberation- CT

  • Yale Women’s Center

  • Sierra Club Connecticut & Puerto Rico

  • Yale Outdoors

  • Environmental Justice at Yale

  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy

  • Yale Students for Prison Divestment

  • Yale Students for Justice in Palestine

  • Jewish Climate Action Network

  • CT Puerto Rican Agenda

  • Yale College Democrats

  • Chispa CTLCV

  • New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

  • Fossil Free Penn

  • Climate Justice at Boston College

  • Divest University of Kentucky

  • Yale Refugee Project

  • Yale Students for Bernie

  • Sunrise New Haven

  • The South Asian Society at Yale

  • Yale Students for Yemen

  • The Yale Animal Welfare Alliance

  • The Yale Student Environmental Coalition

  • Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) de Yale