As faculty members of the University of British Columbia concerned about climate change, we call upon UBC to divest its endowment of fossil fuel holdings.

Humanity confronts a grave and urgent crisis in climate change. The science is clear: the evidence that we are hurtling towards a future dangerous for humankind is compelling.[i] Immediate, dramatic actions are required to restructure the energy system to one relying on clean energy. Research by engineers and economists shows that a transition to a clean energy economy is both technologically feasible and economically affordable.[ii]

We believe that we have a moral duty to address the climate crisis. Inadvertently supporting such a destructive industry is inconsistent with UBC’s core values of sustainability, leadership, and innovation.[iii] It is wrong for UBC to continue to profit from its investments in fossil fuel companies that contribute so directly to dangerous climate change.

We are asking for UBC to immediately forgo further investments in fossil fuel companies, and divest from all existing fossil fuel holdings within five years. Action on climate change requires a rapid transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels, and divestment can help promote this.

Some are concerned divestment might hurt the income UBC receives from the endowment, but this need not to be the case. There are many opportunities in the market for an endowment to make equivalent or better returns, and studies designed to measure the impact of divestment have found little or no impact on returns.[iv] Indeed, there are increasing concerns that a “carbon bubble” could pose significant financial risks to investments in fossil fuels.[v] As a result, divestment is consistent with UBC’s duties as a trustee. We call on UBC to use the endowment as a living laboratory: design a profitable fossil free portfolio, and use it as a model to inspire sustainable investing behaviour at other institutions. We recognize this will be a complex and challenging task, which is why we have included a five-year timeline for full divestment.

Some are concerned this may hurt the university’s ability to raise money through private donations. We believe that demonstrating a strong commitment to sustainability and becoming a global leader in combating climate change can help UBC attract additional donations and funding.

Some would prefer UBC to maintain ownership and exercise leverage as a shareholder. Because the business model of fossil fuel companies is so reliant on carbon reserves that humanity can’t afford to burn, working through shareholder channels simply is inadequate to achieve the transformative changes required. These urgent times demand rapid and significant changes in our energy system, and we believe those changes would be better fostered through the more dramatic action of divestment. Moreover, divestment calls attention to the pollution of politics fostered by the fossil fuel industry, including campaigns to mislead the public about climate science, as well as efforts to block, dilute, or delay the adoption of meaningful climate policies.[vi]

Some are concerned that we need fossil fuels to live and thrive. This is no doubt true in the short term, which is why we advocate a shift to a clean energy economy, something engineers, scientists, and economists have concluded is both achievable and affordable. By divesting, UBC can show leadership in fostering this necessary transformation.

Some have questioned the efficacy of divestment as a strategy. In addition to highlighting the fossil fuel industry’s role in perpetuating carbon pollution and political pollution, divestment can reduce a company’s stock price, pressuring companies to shift their investment to clean energy such as wind and solar power.[vii] A single divestment campaign won’t make a difference; that’s why we’re part of hundreds of fossil fuel divestment campaigns across North America and around the World. Divestment efforts were a major factor in building the international campaign that helped end apartheid in South Africa. This can happen again with fossil fuels.

We are proud of our university and especially its commitment to sustainability. We support the overwhelming call by students for divestment. The time has come for UBC to take the next step, and live up to its ideals.

I support the call for divestment at UBC.[a]

Faculty open letter references are here.

Signatories

The following are the faculty members who have signed the open letter

Natasha Affolder - Associate Professor and Associate Dean Law

William Aiello - Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Sally Aitken - Professor, Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forestry

Peter Arcese - Professor, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forestry

Jim Atwater - Associate Professor, Civil Engineering, Applied Science

Karen Bartlett - Professor School of Population and Public Health Medicine UBC

Bruce Baum - Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Arts Faculty

Lawrence Berg - Professor Geography Barber School of Arts and Sciences UBCO

Sylvia Berryman - Associate Professor Department of Philosophy UBC

Ivan Beschastnikh - Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Elizabeth Bowker - Lecturer, Law & Business Communications, Sauder School of Business

Susan Boyd - Professor Law FRSC

Michael Brauer - Professor Director Bridge Program School of Population and Public Heath Medicine

Jedediah Brodie - Assistant Professor Department of Botany Science

Mary Bryson - Director and Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice & Department of Sociology, Arts

Janette Bulkan - Assistant Professor Forest Resources Management Forestry

Miranda Burgess - Associate Professor Department of English Faculty of Arts

Cathy Burnett - Cathy Burnett Department of Theatre and Film Arts

Michael Byers - Professor, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts

Maxwell Cameron - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Luisa Canuto – Sessional Lecturer, French Hispanic and Italian Studies

Chris Carlsten - Associate Professor, Medicine, Medicine

Allan Carroll - Associate Professor, Forest & Conservation Science, Forestry

Kai Chan - Associate Professor & CRC2, IRES

Mary Chapman - Associate Professor, English, Arts

James Charbonneau - Sessional Instructor, Physics, Science

Andreas Christen - Associate Professor, Geography, Arts

Villy Christensen - Professor, Fisheries Centre, Science

Kalina Christoff - Associate Professor, Psychology, Arts

Natalie Clark - Instructor, School of Social Work

Katharina Coleman - Associate Professor, Political Science, Arts

Hilde Colenbrander - Administrative Librarian Emeritus, UBC Library

Marissa Collins - Clinical Assistant Professor, Family Practice, Medicine

Jon Corbett - Associate Professor, IKBSAS

Catherine Corrigall-Brown - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Glen Coulthard - Assistant Professor, Political Science, Arts

Scott Covey - Senior Instructor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Gillian Creese - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Julie Cruikshank - Professor Emerita Anthropology Arts

Lori Daniels - Associate Professor Forest and Conservation Sciences Forestry

Peter Dauvergne - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Fes de Scally - Associate Professor Earth and Environmental Sciences and Physical Geography Barber School of Arts and Sciences UBCO

Julian Dierkes - Associate Professor, Institute of Asian Research, Faculty of Arts

Carey Doberstein - Assistant Professor, Economics, Philosophy & Political Science Department, Arts, UBCO

Robin Dods - Associate Professor, Anthropology, UBCO

Simon Donner - Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts

Christine D'Onofrio - Instructor Department of Art History Visual Art and Theory Arts

Carl Douglas - Professor Botany Science

Catherine Douglas - Lecturer, Vancouver School of Economics, Arts

Francesco Duina - Professor & Head, Sociology, Arts

Vince Duronio - Professor Department of Medicine Medicine

Brett Eaton - Associate Professor, Geography, Arts

Sian Echard - Professor, English, Faculty of Arts

Susan Ellard - Clinical Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology, Medicine

Antje Ellermann - Associate Professor, Political Science, Faculty of Arts

Naoko Ellis - Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Aftab Erfan - Instructor, School of Community and Regional Planning, Applied Sciences

Patricia Everett-Kabut - Sessional, Film and Theatre Studies, Arts

Brett Finlay - OC OBC FRSC FCAHS UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor Michael Smith Laboratories Science

Kevin Fisher - Assistant Professor, Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology, Arts

Joanne Fox - Senior Instructor, MIchael Smith Laboratories, Science

Erica Frank - Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Medicine

Sylvia Fuller - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Liane Gabora - Assistant Professor, Psychology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Nancy Gallini - Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

David Geary - Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Sarah Gergel - Associate Professor, Forest Sciences, Forestry

Bernadita Germano - Instructor, Zoology, Science

Deana Gill - Sessional Lecturer, School of Social Work

Rick Gooding - Lecturer, English, Arts

Gaston Gordillo - Professor, Anthropology, Arts

Charmaine Gorrie - Contract Lecturer, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, Arts

John Grace - Emeritus Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Applied Science

Sherrill Grace - University Killam Professor, Emerita, English, Arts

David Green - Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Beverley Green - Professor Emeritus, Botany, Science

Sheldon Green - Professor and Head, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Science

Mark Greenstreet - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Kerry Greer - Instructor, Sociology, Arts

Dale Griffin - Professor, Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business

Robert Guy - Professor, Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forestry

Amy Hanser - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

David Hardisty - Assistant Professor, Marketing & Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business

Kathryn Harrison - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Marwan Hassan - Professor and Head, Geography, Arts

Sally Hermansen - Senior Instructor, Geography, Arts

Jeremy Hirota - Assistant Professor, Medicine, Medicine

George Hoberg - Professor, Forest Resources Management, Forestry

Elizabeth Hodgson - Associate Profesor, Arts, English

JoAndrea Hoegg - Associate Professor, Marketing, Sauder School of Business

Nancy Holmes - Associate Professor, Creative Studies, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

Jordi Honey-Roses - Assistant Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP)

Holger Hoos - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Kurt Huebner - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Darren Irwin - Professor, Zoology, Science

Alan Jacobs - Associate Professor, Political Science, Arts

Suzanne James - Contract Lecturer, English, Arts

Laura Janara - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Andrew Jirasek - Assistant Professor, Physics, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Mark Johnson - Associate Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainabilty / Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Science

James Johnston - Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine, Medicine

Edwardo Jovel - Associate Professor, Land and Foods Systems

Pamela Kalas - Instructor, Zoology, Science

Milind Kandlikar - Professor, IRES/Liu, Arts/Science

David Kirkpatrick - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Michael Klein - Professor Emeritus, Clinician Scholar Program, Medicine

Autumn Knowlton - Sessional Instructor, Sociology, Arts

Michael Koehle - Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Medicine

Mieke Koehoorn - Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Medicine

Robert Kozak - Professor and Head, Department of Wood Science, Forestry

Michael Krisinger - Instructor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Don Krug - Professor, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Education

Edward Kruk - Associate Professor, Social Work

Richard Kurth - Professor, School of Music, Arts

Merje Kuus - Professor, Geography, Arts

Nathan Lauster - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Suzie Lavallee - Instructor, Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forestry

Philippe Le Billon - Professor, Geography, Arts

Morley Lertzman - Honorary Professor, Respritory, Medicine

Fok-Shuen Leung - Professor, Mathematics, Science

Alison Lister - Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Science

Dominic McIver Lopes - Professor, Distinguished University Scholar, Philosophy, Arts

Jeanne Lyons - Instructor, Midwifery, Medicine

Leah Macfadyen - Instructor, Arts ISIT/Integrated Science

Scott MacKenzie - Assistant Professor, English, Arts

Alan Mackworth - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Kirk Madison - Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Science

Ernest Mathijs - Instructor, Film Studies, Arts

Lisa Matthewson - Professor, Department of Linguistics, Arts

Renisa Mawani - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Ian McKendry - Professor, Geography and Atmospheric Science Program

Janis McKenna - Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Science

Siobhán McPhee - Instructor, Geography, Arts

Tamar Milne - Lecturer, Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business

Stephen Mitchell - Associate Professor, Forest Sciences, Forestry

William Mohn - Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Science

Laura Moss - Associate Professor, English, Arts

Shaylih Muehlmann - Associate Professor, Anthropology, Arts

Vin Nardizzi - Associate Professor, English, Arts

Harry Nelson - Assistant Professor, Forest Resources Management, Forestry

Peter Nemetz - Professor, Strategy and Business Economics, Sauder School of Business

Susan Nesbit - Professor of Teaching, Civil Engineering, Applied Science

Blythe Nilson - Associate Professor, Biology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Denver Nixon - Contract Lecturer, Geography, Arts

Lynn Norman - Sessional Lecturer, Zoology, Science

John O'Brian - Professor, Art History, Arts

Juliet O'Brien - Lecturer, French, Hispanic & Italian Studies, Arts

Elisabeth Ormandy - Postdoctoral teaching fellow, Land and Food Systems

Shelley Pacholok - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Rajat Panwar - Assistant Professor, Wood Science and Forest Resources Management, Forestry

Peter Pare - Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Medicine

Laura Parfrey - Assistant Professor, Botany, Science

Ilya Parkins - Associate Professor, Gender and Women's Studies, Arts and Sciences

Erika Paterson - Sessional, English, Arts

Daniel Pauly - Professor, Fisheries Centre

Jamie Peck - Professor, Geography, Arts

Jenny Peterson - Instructor, Political Science, Arts

Jason Pither - Assistant Professor, Biology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

David Poole - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Kate Power - Sessional Lecturer, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, Arts

Geraldine Pratt - Professor, Geography, Arts

Moura Quayle - Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues

Paul Quirk - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Navin Ramankutty - Professor, Liu Institute for Global Issues (Arts) and Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (Science)

Jason Read - Instructor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine

Lindsey Richardson - Assistant Professor, Sociology, Arts

Pamela Richardson - Instructor, Education, UBCO

Harvey Richer - Professor, Physics, Science

Steven Rogak - Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Science

Alejandro Rojas - Associate Professor, Applied Biology(Food&Environment Program), Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

Becki Ross - Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice & Department of Sociology, Arts

Wendy Roth - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Deena Rymhs - Associate Professor, English, Arts

Mohsen Sadatsafavi - Assistant Professor, Medicine, Medicine

Mark Schaller - Professor, Psychology, Arts

Anneliese Schultz - Sessional Lecturer,French Hispanic and Italian Studies, Arts

Anne Scott - Lecturer, French Hispanic and Italian Studies, English

Sandra Scott - Instructor, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Education

Judy Segal - Professor, English, Arts

Donna Senese - Associate Professor, Geography, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Stephen Sheppard - Professor, Forest Resources Management, Forestry

John Sherman - Professor, Chemistry, Science

Suzanne Simard - Professor, Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forestry

Santokh Singh - Professor of Teaching, Botany, Science

Janice Snyder - Assistant Professor, Psychology, Arts & Science, UBCO

Mark Stevens - Assistant Professor, SCARP, Applied Science

Douw Steyn - Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Science

Jessica Stites Mor - Associate Professor, History, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Thomas Sullivan - Professor, Forest Sciences, Forestry

Rashid Sumaila - Professor, Fisheries, Science

Lisa Sundstrom - Associate Professor, Political Science, Arts

Margo Tamez - Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

James Tansey - Associate Professor, Executive Director ISIS, Sauder School of Business

Scott Tebbutt - Associate Professor, James Hogg Research Centre, Medicine

Katja Thieme - Arts Studies in Research and Writing, English

Sunera Thobani - Associate Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice & Department of Sociology, Arts

Coll Thrush - Associate Professor, History, Arts

David Tindall - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Crystal Tremblay - Postdoctoral fellow, IRES

Manuela Ungureanu - Associate Professor, Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Peter Urmetzer - Associate Professor and Head, Sociology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Will Valley - Instructor, Applied Biology, Land and Food Systems

Michiel van de Panne - Professor, Computer Science, Science

Amanda Vincent - Professor, Fisheries Centre, Science

John Wagner - Associate Professor, Anthropology, Arts

Zachary Walsh - Assistant Professor, Psychology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, UBCO

Mark Warren - Professor, Political Science, Arts

Sheryda Warrener - Adjunct Instructor, Poetry, Arts

Jerry Wasserman - Professor, English & Theatre and Film, Arts

Kate White - Associate Professor and Chair, Marketing and Behavioural Science, Sauder School of Business

Rima Wilkes - Associate Professor, Sociology, Arts

Jennifer Williams - Assistant Professor, Geography, Arts

Warren Williams - Instructor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medicine

William Winder - Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, Arts

Hannah Wittman - Associate Professor, Land and Food Systems/IRES

Elvin Wyly - Associate Professor, Geography, Arts

Miu Chung yan - Professor, School of Social Work, Arts

Annalee Yassi - Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Medicine

Michael Zeitlin - Associate Professor, English, Arts

Hirsham Zerriffi - Assistant Professor and Ivan Head South/North Research Chair, Liu Institute for Global Issues, Arts

Jiaying Zhao - Assistant Professor, IRES, Science

Tara Ivanochko – Instructor, Earth Ocen and Atmosphersic Sciences, Science

Kristin Orians – Associate Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Science

Diana French – Head, Community Culture and Global Studies, I.K. Barber School

Tim Inglis – Professor, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education

Susan Allen – Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Paul Kennedy – Instructor, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education

Brian O’Neill – Associate Professor and Chair of Field Education, School of Social Work

For any corrections or additions to the list, please email ubcc350@gmail.com.

[a] This was formerly I support the call for divestment at UBC and pledge to vote in the upcoming faculty referendum.