Pierre Desrochers

GGR 333 – Energy and Society – Fossil fuel divestment Controversy

Background and Overview of the Issue

Wikipedia – Fossil Fuel Divestment

Lewington, Jennifer. 2021. “Testing Grounds for Sustainability.” Corporate Knights (February 17).

Constable, John. 2020. “The Future of Oil, Gas, and Coal: Stranded Assets or Safe Refuge?” GWPF (January 1).

Hirji, Zahra and Elizabeth Douglass. 2015. “Map: Tracking Academia’s Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Inside Climate News (March 20).

Tollefson, Jeff. 2015. “Fossil-fuel divestment campaign hits resistance. Academics suggest other ways to cut carbon emissions on campus and beyond.” Nature (May 6).

Woodhouse, Kellie. 2015. “Does Divestment Cost? Inside Higher Ed (September 21).

Ritchie, Justin and Hadi Dowlatabadi. 2015. Fossil Fuel Divestment: Reviewing Arguments, Implications & Policy. Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Opportunities.

Domonell, Kristen. 2013. “Is Fossil Fuel Divestment a Wise Move? Making the case for and against stripping endowments of fossil fuel investments.” University Business (June).

Leahy, Stephen. 2021. “Small but growing number of Canadian universities divesting from fossil fuels.” University Affairs (December 8).

Copenhagen Economics for the Energy Transitions Commission. 2017. Background and Overview of the Issue. The future of fossil fuels: How to steer fossil fuel use in a transition to a low-carbon energy system An analysis of fossil fuels trajectories in low-carbon scenarios Full Report (January).

Ilnyckyj, Milan Prazak. 2023. Persuasion Strategies: Canadian Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns and the Development of Activists, 2012–20. PhD Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.

Background of the Movement

Kurtz, Stanley. 2013.
– “Fossil Fuel Divestment – Part 1.” National Review (March 4) 
– Part 2 
– Part 3

Grady-Benson, Jessica and Brinda Sarathy. Forthcoming. “Fossil fuel divestment in US higher education: student-led organising for climate justice.” Local Environment.

For Divestment


Fossil Fuel Divestment on Wikipedia (provided for its links)

McKibben, Bill. 2013. “The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Rolling Stone (February 22).

Dickinson, Tim. 2015. “The Logic of Divestment.” Rolling Stone (January 14): 31-35. 

Tillmann T, Currie J, Wardrope A, McCoy D. Fossil fuel companies and climate change: the case for divestmentBMJ. 2015;350:h3196. 

Howard, Emma. 2015. “A beginner’s guide to fossil fuel divestment.” The Guardian (June 23).

Impax Asset Management. 2013. Beyond Fossil Fuels: The Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment. (White Paper). 

Divest London. 2015. The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment: City Hall and the LPFA. Briefing for the London Assembly Labour Group (January). 

An Taisce (National Trust for Ireland). 2015. The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment (February). 

Various papers written by graduate philosophy student Georges A. Lenferna

Sulston, John. 2015. “The Wellcome Trust’s polite business chats won’t save the Earth.” The Guardian (April 8). 

Rusbridger, Alan. 2015. “The Argument for Divesting from Fossil Fuels is Becoming Overwhelming.” The Guardian (March 16). 

Rubin, Jeff. 2015. “U of T should divest from fossil fuels.” Toronto Star (September 8). 

Hale, Ilona, David Hale, Courtney Howard, and Warren Bell. 2014. “Time to divest from the fossil-fuel industry.” CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 186.12 (Sept. 2): 960. 

Brooks, Mark. 2013. “Banking on Divestment.” Alternatives Journal 39 (6): 48. 

Horton, Richard. 2015. “Offline: The thermodynamics of morality.” Lancet 385 (9977): 1494.

Lederer, Katy. 2015. “Defunding Climate Change.” New Yorker (October 2).

Moore, Kathleen Dean. 2015. “Executive Deception: Four Fallacies About Divestment, and One Big Mistake.” Chronicle of Higher Education (October 18).

HuffPost CanadaFossil Fuel Divestment

Tucker, Bronwen. 2018. “Canadian Universities Are Way Behind on Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Vice (March 15).

McKibben, Bill. 2019. “Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns.” The New Yorker (September 17).

Stop the Money Pipeline.

Hopke, Jill and Luis. E. Hestres. 2017. “Communicating about Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Science.

Ilnyckyj, Milan. 2017. “Canadian Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns and the Development of Activists.” PhD proposal (University of Toronto, Political Science).

Ilnyckyj, Milan. 2021. “Draft bibliography for forthcoming University of Toronto PhD dissertation: “Persuasion Strategies: Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns and the Development of Activists.” (November 17).

van der Ploeg, Frederick and Armon Rezai. 2020. “Stranded Assets in the Transition to a Carbon-Free Economy”. Annual Review of Resource Economics 12: 281-298.

Cohen, Ilana. 2022. Students Tell Their Universities: Keep Fossil Fuel Companies Out of Climate Research | The Nation (November 22).

Ilnyckyj, Milan Prazak. 2023. Persuasion Strategies: Canadian Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns and the Development of Activists, 2012–20. PhD Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.

Against Divestment

Environmentalists against divestment
Stavins, Robert N. 2014. “Divestment Is No Substitute for Real Action on Climate Change.” Environment 360 (March 20). 

Hulme, Mike. 2015. “Why Fossil Fuel Divestment is a Misguided Tactic.” The Guardian (April 17). 

Activist investors against (broad) divestment
Farrar, Jeremy. 2015. “Fossil-fuel Divestment is not the Way to Reduce Carbon Emissions.” The Guardian (March 25).

Devinney, Timothy. 2015. “The Argument against Fossil Fuel Divestment.” IR Magazine (May 13).

Hendey, Eric. 2012. “Does Divestment Work?” Harvard Political Review (October 2). 

(Generally) Pro fossil fuels
DivestmentFacts.com (Independent Petroleum Association of America) 
– Fischel, Daniel R. 2015. Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Costly and Ineffective Investment Strategy. Compass Lexicon.
– Fischel, Daniel R., Christopher R. Fiore and Todd D. Kendall. 2017. Fossil Fuel Divestment and Public Pension Funds. Compass Lexicon. 
– Cornell, Bradford. 2015. The Divestment Penalty: Estimating the Costs of Fossil Fuel Divestment to Select University Endowments. Independent Petroleum Association of America. 

Nachmany, Eli. 2015. “Opinion: Why I’m Against NYU Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Break Energy (April 30).

— (mattd). 2014. “Divestment Campaign: More Symbolism over Substance.” Oil Sands Fact Check (October 23). 

Harries, Rob. 2014. “Fossil Free UK: Divesting from Reality.” Spiked! (September 18).

Driessen, Paul. 2015. “The Ethics and Realities of Divestment.” Townhall.com (February 14).

Driessen, Paul. 2017. “Life in a Fossil-fuel-free Utopia. Life without oil, natural gas and coal would most likely be nasty, brutish and short.” What’s Up with That? (August 13). 

Holland, Patrick. 2015. “Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Fails Students and the Environment.” E21 (January 15). 

Epstein, Alex
– 2013. “Don’t Leave it in the Ground.”
– 2013. “Don’t Divest, Educate – An Open Letter to American Universities.” Center for Industrial Progress (June 5). 
– 2014. “9 Graphs That Prove Using Fossil Fuels Hasn’t Harmed the Planet.” Daily Caller (November 13). 
– 2015. “How Opposition To Fossil Fuels Hurts The Poor Most Of All.” Forbes (January 14). 
– 2015. “The Moral Case for Investing, not Divesting, in Fossil Fuels.” Forbes (February 11).

Gapper, John. 2015. “Fossil Fuel Campaigners Play Charades.” Financial Times (April 15). 

McArdle, Megan. 2014. “College Students Can’t Defeat Big Oil.” Bloomberg View (September 11).

Jacoby, Jeff. 2015. “A Valentine for Fossil Fuels.” Boston Globe (February 11).

Peterson, Rachelle. 2015. Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels. National Association of Scholars.

Peterson, Rachelle. 2017. Dead: Fossil Fuel Divestment. NAS Blog (August 17).

Desrochers, Pierre and Hiroko Shimizu. 2016. Blowing Hot Air on the Wrong Target? A Critique of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement in Higher Education, Frontier Centre for Public Policy (July).

Zycher, Benjamin. 2017. “Other People’s Money: The Immorality Of The Fossil-Fuel Divestment Campaign.” Investor’s Business Daily (June 21).  

American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers. Keep it Grounded in Fact
– The Connection Between “Keep It in the Ground” and the “Green New Deal.” (December 17, 2018). 

Navarro-Genie, Marco. 2014. “Universities Would be Wrong to Shun Energy Companies.” Calgary Herald (July 16).

O’Neill, Brendan. 2021. “Keep Burning Those Fossil Fuels.” Spiked (November 12).

McNally, William. 2022. “Divestment Won’t Stop Fossil Fuels – Nor Should It.” C2C Journal (January 8).

Corcoran, Terence. 2022. “Which energy assets will be stranded? Coal, oil and gas versus windmills, EVs and carbon sequestration.” Financial Post (May 4).

Yager, David. “The rising value of Mark Carney’s ‘stranded assets.’ Rendering fossil fuels obsolete was conceived in a different environment than the one we live in today.” Canadian Energy Centre (April 29).

Stop Divestment – Invest Now
– Pappano, Gina. 2023. “Why university professors should say no to oil and gas divestment. Divesting from Canadian oil and gas does not reduce global emissions.” Canadian Energy Centre (March 17).

University of Toronto Material

University of Toronto, Office of the President. 2021. “Letter to the Community: Divestment, Net Zero and a Climate Positive Campus.” (October 27).

Major Reports
Divestment and Beyond. Organizing Climate Justice at UofT.

Towards a Fit-For-Purpose UPP – A Cross-University Perspective (University Pension Plan (UPP) – jointly-sponsored pension plan for faculty and staff at the University of Toronto, University of Guelph and Queen’s University) (includes statement on fossil fuel divestment)

UofT Community 2016. Response to the Report of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Committee

Gertler, Meric. 2016. Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change. Administrative Response to the Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil-Fuels. University of Toronto.

Toronto350.org. 2015. The Fossil Fuel Industry and the Case for Divestment: Update (see also “An Ethical and Financial Case for Divestment.” (University of Toronto Divestment Lecture by Dimitri Lascaris))

News items
Anteblian, Khatchig. 2020. “Divest Canada Coalition calls for nationwide blanket divestment from fossil fuels at universities. ‘Situation is far too urgent’ for U of T to not take stronger climate approach, say activists.” The Varsity (October 4).

Austin, Evelyn et al. 2020. “The University’s Toxic investments Warrant a Just Transition into Fossil Fuel Divestment.” The Varsity (May 21).

Kalvapalle, Rahul. 2020. “UTAM to reduce the carbon footprint of its long-term investments by at least 40 per cent by 2030.” UofT News (February 13).

Kalvapalle, Rahu. 2020. “Universities Sign U of T-led Responsible Investment Charter to Help Address Climate Change.” U of T News (June 18).

Kalvapalle, Rahu. 2020. “Fighting Climate Change through Responsible Investing: U of T President Meric Gertler.” U of T News (December 3).

UofT News. 2016. Q & A with President Meric Gertler on U of T’s 14-point plan, Beyond Divestment (March 30).

Vendeville, Geoffrey. 2021. “U of T, other universities form coalition to strengthen engagement and reduce climate-related risks in their investment portfolios.” UofT News (February 18).

Other Canadian Universities

[Several Canadian Universities, June 2020] Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities.

Friesen, Jo. 2020. “Chancellor Martha Billes Quits after University of Guelph Divests from Fossil Fuels.” The Globe & Mail (May 5).

University of Ottawa official material on fossil fuel divestment.

McMaster University. President’s Advisory Committee on Fossil Fuels Divestment. Report to the President. October 2017.

University of Winnipeg
– Divestment and the University of Winnipeg 
– Stranded Assets and Financial Studies 
– at other Canadian institutions

Ilnyckyj, Milan Prazak. 2023. Persuasion Strategies: Canadian Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns and the Development of Activists, 2012–20. PhD Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.