UC Faculty Open Letter to the Regents

UC Faculty Open Letter to the Regents

Faculty from across the UC have come together to draft an open letter to the Regents calling for divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in climate solutions. The following letter, with all of its signatures, will be delivered to the UC Regents . If you are a faculty member at the UC, we ask that you:

  1. Sign onto the letter (below)
  2. Share this letter with your colleagues and ask them to do the same

Thank you for adding your voice of support for a fossil free UC and a clean energy future.

An Open Letter from the Faculty to the Regents of the University of California

We, the undersigned faculty of the University of California, call upon the Regents of the University of California to divest the University’s portfolio of all investments in the 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves. 1 Such investments provide capital to companies whose operations threaten our futures, our children’s futures and the futures of our students by causing climate change of unprecedented destructive potential. Such investments also unnecessarily expose the institution to substantial carbon asset risk.

As educators, we devote ourselves to helping our students grow, giving them the tools and knowledge they need to succeed and make a positive impact on the world. Current students will be at the peak of life in 2050, identified by numerous studies as a point at which the global community will have either adequately responded to climate change, or will be suffering horribly from it. 2 At this moment of opportunity, we have a tremendous moral responsibility not just to students, but to all living beings to utilize every lever of our institution to address the climate crisis.

The extensive and established body of climate research, to which many of us have contributed, clearly concludes that continued fossil fuel combustion is incompatible with a livable future.3 4 As faculty, we are deeply troubled by the University’s inconsistency. On the one hand, the UC is a world leader in research on climate change and its near-term catastrophic consequences. Yet, through our investments, we are condoning and endorsing the industry whose operations drive the climate crisis and block the transition to a clean energy economy.5

The University of California has recognized the importance of climate change in other aspects of the institution, including research, education, sustainability programs and a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025. However, the University’s potential for influence far exceeds these initiatives. We call on the University to commit wholly to its burgeoning position on this pivotal issue by divesting its fossil fuel holdings and reallocating assets toward climate solutions.

The object of divestment is multifaceted. It aims to signal financially to fossil fuel invested companies that the climate and risks of investment are changing.  It demonstrates to political leaders that important thought and financial leaders see a new, clean and sustainable path as viable and livable. Divestment further enhances our ability to align the University’s investments with its mission to serve the public interest and its commitment to climate leadership.

Divesting from fossil fuel companies also insulates the UC’s portfolio from unmanageable systemic carbon asset risk. 6 It is becoming increasingly imprudent to remain invested in corporations whose valuation is based on the development of assets that cannot be realized if we are to avert runaway climate disruption.7 8 9 Rather than investing in companies whose assets will be rendered stranded in a near-term carbon constrained future, the UC should reallocate assets to companies leading the path toward a clean energy economy.  A critical and growing body of analysis indicates that divestment from fossil fuels can be profit-neutral, or even positive, for the University.10 11 12

The University of California has always been an academic and moral leader. In 1986, the UC contributed greatly to ending the injustice of apartheid in South Africa. The UC divested then because it cared about justice. Similarly, the UC’s divestment from fossil fuels is a key and required piece in the pursuit of climate justice.

In the face of the climate crisis, the UC can reassert its moral leadership by responding to the greatest threat of our time with courage, strength and tenacity. It must send a bold and unmistakable message that it declines to be complicit in harming the futures of its students, faculty and staff, and that it stands with science, data, research, common sense, fiscal responsibility, ethics and morality. Divestment delivers this message.

We call upon our Regents to take the following steps:

(1) Immediately freeze new investments in the 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves,

(2) Develop a plan to divest all current holdings in these companies as expeditiously as possible but certainly within five years, and

(3) Engage in a program of investing in climate solutions.

The time for decision is here. For the sake of our students, communities near and far, and the welfare of current and future generations, we call upon our Regents to take the steps this historic moment requires.


Sign On: Faculty Open Letter

Signature count: 698, showing 50 per page
First NameLast NameUC CampusPosition/TitleDepartment
vmeifrst vmeifrst UCM uNEDpZGcmllmTvlY cZAnxjHoUc
Bishnupriya Ghosh UCSB Professor English
Mary Bucholtz UCSB Professor Linguistics
Xiaomei Chen UCD Professor EALC
Nobuko Koyama UCD Assistant Professor EALC
Michael Foster UCD Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Yuming He UCD Associate Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Robert Ashmore UCB Associate Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Carole Paul UCSB Senior Lecturer Art History
Weihong Bao UCB Associate Professor FILM/EALC
Michael Urban UCSC Professor Emeritus Politics
Larry McLellan UCSB Continuing Lecturer Germanic & Slavic Studies
Ling Hon Lam UCB Assistant Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Claudio Fogu UCSB Associate Professor French and Italian
David White UCSB professor religious studies
Yoko Hasegawa UCB Professor EALC
Mark Jepson UCLA Lecturer Sociology
Esther Lezra UCSB Associate Professor Global Studies
suzanne levine UCSB
alan tansman UCB
Dominique Jullien UCSB Professor of French & Comparative Literature French & Italian
Giles Gunn UCSB Distinguished Professo Global Studies and English
Swati Chattopadhyay UCSB Professor History of Art and Architecture
Dan O'Neill UCB Associate Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Sophie Volpp UCB Associate Professor East Asian Languages and Cultures
Rita Raley UCSB
Evelyn Reder UCSB Lecturer German and Slavic Studies
Janet Walker UCSB Professor and Chair Department of Film and Media Studies
Lindsey Dillon UCSC Assistant Professor Sociology
candace calsoyas UCSC lecturer rachel carson college
candace calsoyas UCSC lecturer rachel carson college
Leslie Lopez UCSC Lecturer Oakes College; Community Studies
Megan Thomas UCSC Associate Professor Politics
Zack Schlesinger UCSC Professor Physics
Carla Freccero UCSC Distinguished Professor Literature
Helene Moglen UCSC Professor Emerita Literature
Hunter Bivens UCSC Associate Professor Literature
Ronnie Lipschutz UCSC Professor Politics
Christine Hong UCSC Assistant Professor Literature
Tj Demos UCSC Professor History of Art and Visual Culture
E.G. Crichton UCSC Professor Emeritus ART
Christine King UCSC Adjunct Faculty Kresge & Porter Colleges
Madeleine Fairbairn UCSC Assistant Professor Environmental Studies
Helene Moglen UCSC Professor Emerita Literature
Avril Thorne UCSC Professor Emerita Psychology
Tj Demos UCSC Professor History of Art and Visual Culture
Cynthia Polecritti UCSC Associate Professor History
Jane Teranes UCSD Associate Teaching Faculty Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Alison Lipman UCLA Lecturer EEB
Wei Cheng Liao UCSD

Don’t delete this. This won’t be seen.

  1. The Carbon Underground 200. Foss. Free Indexes LLC (2014). <http://fossilfreeindexes.com/the-carbon-underground-2014/>
  2. Mora, C. et al. The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability. Nature 502, 183–187 (2013).
  3. IPCC. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Basis. (2013). <http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/>
  4. Meinshausen, M. et al. Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 °C. Nature 458, 1158–1162 (2009).
  5. Heede, R. Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010. Clim. Change 122, 229–241 (2014).
  6. Litterman, B. The Other Reason for Divestment. Ensia. <http://ensia.com/voices/the-other-reason-for-divestment/>
  7. Carbon Tracker Initiative. Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets. (2013). <http://www.carbontracker.org/site/wastedcapital>
  8. Generation Foundation. Stranded Carbon Assets. (2013). <http://genfound.org/media/pdf-generation-foundation-stranded-carbon-assets-v1.pdf>
  9. HSBC. Oil and Carbon Revisited. (2013). <http://www.longfinance.net/programmes/london-accord/la-reports/full-reports-list.html?view=report&id=407>
  10. Aperio Group. Building a Carbon-Free Equity Portfolio. (2014). <https://www.aperiogroup.com/system/files/documents/aperio_group_-_building_a_carbon-free_equity_portfolio.pdf>
  11. IMPAX Asset Management. Beyond Fossil Fuels: The Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment. (2013). <http://350nyc.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/impax-investment-case-for-fossil-fuel-divestment-us-final-1.pdf>
  12. Fossil Free Indexed, LLC. Fossil Free Indexes US. <http://fossilfreeindexes.com/fossil-free-indexes-us/>