University of California completes fossil fuel divestment
LOS ANGELES — The University of California announced Tuesday that it has divested from all fossil fuels, removing them from its $126-billion investment portfolio.
With 285,000 students, UC becomes the largest educational system in the nation to shed such assets in favor of renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
Environmental goals were included in the university’s published investment framework five years ago.
“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement.
Jagdeep Singh Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer, said the system has sold more than $1 billion in fossil fuel assets from its pension, endowment and working capital pools and surpassed its five-year goal of investing $1 billion in clean energy projects, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In addition to environmental concerns, fossil fuels have been attacked as being risky investments. Coal prices have been declining and oil prices have plunged because of coronavirus stay-at-home orders that have kept people from commuting to work or other venues.
Bachher said there is likely to be “a bumpy and slow global financial recovery in a post-pandemic world.”
Dozens of universities have committed to divesting themselves of at least some fossil fuel assets.