Fossil fuel divestment pledges doubled in last 15 months

petrol station gasoline oil
CC BY 2.0 Dan DeChiaro/Flickr

I've been thinking of writing a post entitled "Now would be a great time to buy an electric car."
Or, alternatively, "Now would be a great time to start riding your bike."
Or "Now would be a great time to divest from fossil fuels."
Or, for that matter, "Now would be a great time to start walking to work."

Truthfully, now would be a great time to do any and everything that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels. With an apparent winning streak underway for those who would perpetuate our dependency on polluting and increasingly outdated technologies, it's important that those of us who do believe in climate action don't lose sight of the very real momentum for a low carbon transition that's already well under way.

Don't believe me? Alongside the countries breaking up with coal and the cities embracing zero emission buses, investors appear to be abandoning fossil fuels in hitherto unheard of numbers.

As reported at Business Green, analysis from impact investing consultancy Arabella Advisors claims that 688 institutions and 58,399 individuals across 76 countries have committed to divest from fossil fuels. In total, they've identified groups and individuals responsible for $5.197tr in assets who are committed to breaking up with fossil fuels. That, say the authors of the report, represents a doubling of the reach of the movement in the last 15 months alone.

Of course, critics of divestment have and will again claim that there's a willing new investor for every "ethical" fund that chooses to withdraw. I suspect, however, that this thinking may eventually hit a wall. Given how quickly the number of countries pledging to completely eliminate coal use has grown, given how fast renewable energy is progressing, and how much momentum there is behind electrified transportation—investments in fossil fuels are starting to feel like increasingly risky bets.

True, a low carbon transition will take a long time. Yes, there's still money to be made in the short and even medium term from businesses related to fossil fuels. But given the potential wide-ranging disruption that clean tech could play in the economy, how much exposure to polluting technologies are investors going to be comfortable with moving forward?

Fossil fuel divestment pledges doubled in last 15 months
Companies and individuals with nearly $5.2tr of assets under management have now pledged to divest from fossil fuels.

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