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A motion on climate change and fossil fuel divestment is being brought before University congregation this term. If you are a member of Congregation, you may like to read more and perhaps take the opportunity to sign this motion and lend your support.

A motion on climate change and fossil fuel divestment is being brought before University congregation this term. If you are a member of Congregation, you may like to read more and perhaps take the opportunity to sign this motion and lend your support.

The University's Sustainability Team and the Department’s Green Impact Team encourage University staff to make choices in our personal lives to reduce our emissions – to travel sustainably, recycle or reduce our consumption of animal products – all of which are valuable and are the right things to do. However, it's also important to consider systemic influences on climate change.

The University’s Endowment Fund invests in fossil fuel companies. As you are probably aware, the fossil fuel industry plays a major role in driving the climate crisis by

a) exploring for further reserves of coal, oil and gas (when known reserves already contain at least four times what can safely be burned), and

b) lobbying against climate action by Governments.

Many argue that the University's fossil fuel investments sit very oddly with its sustainability initiatives, as well as with the world class research carried out by University departments, including Primary Care, that aims to mitigate climate change.

A raft of UK medical and health bodies – of which many members of our Department will be members - have recognised the urgency of tackling the climate crisis and understood the logic of fossil fuel divestment. These include the British Medical Association (which committed to divest in 2014); Royal College of General Practitioners (2018); UK Faculty of Public Health (2018); British Psychological Society (2018); Royal College of Emergency Medicine (2019); Royal College of Physicians (2020). Many UK Universities have also made commitments to divest from fossil fuels. The logic of the rapidly growing fossil fuel divestment movement, and its relevance to the field of health, is articulated well in this blog post from Medact.

Click here to download the final version of the resolution. 

If you are a member of Congregation and would like to sign the motion, please contact alison.chisholm@phc.ox.ac.uk. Thank you