The Importance of Divestment

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In order to stay within the 2 degrees Celcius temperature threshold, the maximum amount of CO2 which can be emitted by 2050 is 565 billion tonnes. However, five times this amount is currently contained in ‘unburnable carbon’ reserves. To limit dangerous global warming, these fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground.

The UK has less than 0.2% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves, yet the CO2 potential of the reserves listed on London’s stock market alone account for 18.7% of the remaining global carbon budget. These listed fossil fuel reserves therefore account for 10 times the UK carbon budget for 2050.

'Unburnable Carbon': = carbon which cannot be burned if we are to stay within the 2 degree budget

Who has divested already?

More than 220 institutions globally have now divested, including pension funds, foundations, universities, faith organisations and local authorities. In September 2014, this represented a total of $50 trillion in assets divested, which has risen further to date.


Date of Publication: 14.06.2018