SU President Zak Coleman (centre) at a demonstration last year where colleges were handed 'climate grades'Rosie Smart-Knight

A Student Union manifesto launched on Friday (18/02) has called on the University to end all new research, sponsorship and funding collaborations with the fossil fuel industry at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Manifesto for a Fossil Free University, organised by SU President Zak Coleman, identifies three main areas of further improvement: incomplete and distant emissions targets, ongoing research and sponsorship with fossil fuel companies and major relationships with banks funding fossil fuels.

Among the demands are that the University and its colleges  commit to being net-zero by 2030 and end relationships with banks investing in fossil fuels.

More controversially, the manifesto calls for a “Fossil Free Campus”: halting all new research and sponsorship collaborations with the fossil fuel industry and ending all pre-existing relationships as soon as possible. This would constrain the research departments can conduct.

The manifesto also says the University should ban research that would lead to further fossil fuel extraction and compel the Careers Service to not promote activities related to fossil fuel industries.

The SU has also called for the establishment of a sustainable research fund to “replace” all funding. It has not outlined how this fund would cover the loss of funding from other sources.

Coleman said that the University’s “incomplete and distant” emissions targets were “a stunning betrayal of (its) responsibility to do its fair share in tackling the climate crisis”.


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Harvey Brown speaking on behalf of Cambridge Climate Justice, a society which has previously called the University to divest from fossil fuel companies, said that “our university is complicit in climate catastrophe” but said the manifesto “set out important next steps”.

The manifesto comes amidst increasing pressure on individual colleges to divest. Last Friday (18/02) Emmanuel College’s student union pledged to stop banking with NatWest, citing their investment in fossil fuels and the arms industry.