Cambridge students protest in favour of divestment in April this yearAnkur Desai

The facts are hard to ignore. Climate change is responsible for more deaths than terrorism: an estimated 400,000 every year. The fossil fuel industry is driving us towards a climate crisis.

Climate change is a social issue: 99 per cent of all deaths from weather-related disasters are in developing countries. In the words of the Master of Magdalene College, and former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams: the climate issue is clearly bound up with “basic matters of justice”.

Climate change is a feminist issue: according to the United Nations Population Fund, women “bear the disproportionate burden of climate change”. And climate change is a student issue, because UK universities and colleges currently invest £5.2 billion in fossil fuel companies.

In response to protests, in May Week, the University of Cambridge published a ‘Statement of Investment Responsibility’, proposing a letter to their external fund managers encouraging them to consider ethical investment.
But this is not nearly enough. Politely asking fund managers to be more ethical will not prevent climate change.

The University could send a much louder message – to politicians, to fund managers, to fuel companies – by divesting from fossil fuels entirely.

Fossil fuel investment carries not only ethical risks, but financial ones too. According to financial think tank Carbon Tracker, 80 per cent of fossil fuels will be unusable if policymakers intend to keep global warming below two degrees by 2100, making fossil fuel investments much less valuable than they might appear.

Financially and ethically, the case for these investments is weaker than ever.

The University of Cambridge has failed to respond adequately to concerns raised. Failed to respect the voices of students, who voted for CUSU to support divestment. Failed to recognise the seriousness of the climate threat.

Its values commit it to “show concern for sustainability and … the environment”. It seems it’s failed to live up to these, too.

Zero Carbon Society is campaigning for the University to divest from fossil fuels. To find out more, like their Facebook page or come to Sidney Sussex bar on Saturday at 4pm