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Fossil Free UC have presented the University of Canterbury (UC) with a petition requesting that the university stop its investments in fossil fuels because of their contribution to climate change.
On September 23, Vice Chancellor Dr John Wood was handed the petition with over 2000 signatures from students and staff members of the university.
Should the petition be accepted, fossil fuels would be added to the university’s list of other divestments—tobacco, armaments, and gambling.
Fossil Free UC spokesperson, Jessica Reeves, said of the current situation, “the university of Canterbury is literally paying for and profiting from causing climate change.”
The push for divestment comes at a time when various departments throughout the university, academics, and scientists are researching ways to cut back the rising tide of climate change.
UC has a history of rejecting movements for fossil fuel divestment, citing that the establishment of a sustainability policy, combined with locating and investing in non-fossil fuel funds, would be too difficult.
If the university chooses to divest from fossil fuels it would be the third university in New Zealand to do so, following Victoria University of Wellington in 2014 and Otago University in 2016.
Last week the Otago University Council voted to divest the university foundation trust from fossil fuels, after a campaign led by 24 senior academics and over 1000 collected signatures. The group behind this was Otago Uni Divests, founded at the start of 2016 with the sole goal of changing this funding choice.
$2.75 million (1.5 per cent) of the overall investments from Otago University were rooted in “oil, gas, and consumables.”