Whereas, City College of New York-CUNY recognizes the need for immediate action regarding the climate crisis, evidenced by recent events like Superstorm Sandy, the melting of polar ice, and other extreme weather events like unprecedented floods, droughts, and storms in many parts of the world; and
Whereas, we have already exceeded the 350 ppm limit of safe carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (James Hansen, Columbia University climatologist); and—without major policy change—we are already on track to reach a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius in the next 15 years (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a devastating level which the 2009 Copenhagen Accord agreed to stay under; and
Whereas, a 2006 report, “Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change,” shows that the cost of climate change is equivalent to a loss of 5% of Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year, “now and forever,” and could be as much as 20% of Global GDP annually, while the costs of solutions to climate change could be as little as 1% of Global GDP annually—an amount roughly equal to the $674 billion which fossil fuel companies spent on exploration in 2012; and
Whereas, the CUNY long-term investment pool (“CUNY Flash Investment Returns by Manager [net of fees],” April 30, 2013) invests in mutual funds which own shares in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, and by such investment supports continued degradation and destruction of the planet; and
Whereas, fossil fuel divestment is now a full-fledged student-led movement at over 350 US colleges and universities, nine of which have committed to divestment (among them Green Mountain College, Hampshire College, San Francisco State University Foundation, and Unity College); and at CUNY the University Student Senate, the Graduate Center Doctoral Students Council, and the Student Government Association of New York City College of Technology have all passed divestment resolutions; and
Whereas, the CUNY Board of Trustees have approved divestment before on two occasions, once in 1984, divesting from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa, and again in 1991 when they divested from tobacco companies; therefore
Be it resolved, that City College of New York-CUNY urges the CUNY Board of Trustees to divest CUNY long-term investment funds from the top 200 carbon-dioxide polluting fossil fuel companies, to freeze future investments in those companies, and to reinvest 5% of the long-term investment funds in companies promoting solutions to climate change; and
Be it further resolved, that City College of New York-CUNY encourages its members to join the CUNY Divest campaign by organizing climate change forums and educational events on local CUNY campuses, and by passing divestment resolutions in campus governance bodies.