The University of Cape Town’s Panel on Responsible Investment (UPRI) has now published its recommendation on fossil fuel divestment – which is, that the UCT Foundation and Council should indeed commit themselves to fully divesting their assets from fossil fuel investments by 31 December 2029 or earlier if possible.
Although positive, This is not a final victory. We still need to see the final approval of this decision by Council. We believe that the decision needs very firm commitments to:
- Divestment as per the UPRI’s recommendations.
- Public announcements of the decision.
- Divestment as fast as possible, with 2029 the very outside target date for completing the process.
- Working together with other universities as far as possible. The VC and chair of Council should write to their counterparts at all other SA universities formally inviting collaboration on ethical low-carbon investment.
- Transparency over current investments.
- Annual updates on progress towards divestment.
Much of this forms part of the Climate Emergency Investment Plan that was proposed at, and endorsed by UCT’s Convocation last December.
UCT’s continued bureaucratic delay has disastrous consequences for its students, staff and South Africans. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, which outlines the effects of climate change, has been described as a code red for humanity. The report makes no mistake in detailing that the only way to a stabilised climate and avoid climate disaster is the immediate reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions. We are extremely close to crossing the threshold to 1.5°C and 2°C warming that will have catastrophic effects on Southern Africa.
The report was co-authored by some of UCT’s very own scientists and states that: “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes”.
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