While they don’t make as many headlines these days, the fossil fuel divestment movement is still alive, if not really very “well” in America. This is particularly true on the nation’s college campuses, where activist students with very little understanding of how university endowments actually work continue their attempts to force woke policies on school administrations. But this phenomenon is not unique to the United States. The latest example comes to us from across the pond at Cambridge University in England, where the kids weren’t alright with the school’s $6.3B endowment being invested in a variety of high-yield energy funds. Not wanting to upset the activists too much, the school once again launched into a lengthy period of “study” to show that they were taking these concerns seriously.
Just as we’ve seen in so many other places, the administration has nearly completed their investigation and found that divesting from proven performing funds such as these would basically be a fiscal disaster. When the final ruling is handed down, it appears that there will be little more than cosmetic changes. (Divestment Facts)
The Financial Times is reporting “Cambridge university has ruled out divesting from oil and gas in its £6.2bn endowment fund despite a last-ditch attempt by UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell to convince the institution to dump fossil fuels.”
The article continues, noting “It is understood the university’s council, its executive arm, decided against divesting from oil and gas stocks at a meeting on Friday. The university said a final response would be published next week.”
The decision comes at the end of a school year of continued struggles for the pro-divestment effort.
At Cambridge, it wasn’t just the students who were getting involved. They had the support of John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and British Labour Party executive. What his major beef with the oil-producing world might be isn’t entirely clear, but his efforts have fallen flat.
At some point, the people pushing these initiatives have to begin noticing a pattern, particularly in the United States. Remember when students tried to force the University of Denver to divest from fossil fuels? Yeah, that didn’t work. They tried the same thing at the University of Pennsylvania with a similar lack of results. Notre Dame has the tenth largest endowment in the country and they were similarly pressed to divest. They took a pass on it as well.
And it’s not just colleges and universities. Politicians have gotten in on the act, with Democrats trying to force state and municipal pension funds to divest. Andrew Cuomo tried it in New York State and Vermont pushed a similar move last year. Both of them crashed and burned when the people managing the already floundering pension funds informed them that they couldn’t afford to take even more losses.
It all comes down to practicality over protests. Liberal activists want to flex their muscles and politicians are hustling to burnish their woke credentials. But at the end of the day, somebody has to pay the bills, whether it’s at a university or a panel handling investment portfolios. American energy interests, in particular, are on the rise and they deliver to their investors. Solar panel companies tend to go broke unless they keep receiving fresh injections of taxpayer dollars. Which one would you like to invest your funds with?