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Georgetown to Divest From Fossil Fuels

February 7, 2020

Georgetown University is the latest institution to commit to divesting from fossil fuels. Its Board of Directors on Thursday approved a policy saying the university would divest from public securities of fossil fuel companies within the next five years and from existing private investments over 10 years. Georgetown will continue to make investments in renewable energy and immediately freeze new endowment investments in companies or funds whose primary business relates to fossil fuel exploration or extraction.

“Divestment allows us to divert more capital to fund development of renewable energy projects that will play a vital role in the transition away from fossil fuels -- part of the long-term solution required to prevent the most dangerous effects of climate change,” Michael Barry, Georgetown’s chief investment officer, said in an announcement. “Our endowment has for a number of years profitably invested in the development of renewable power assets and energy efficiency companies, and we are continuing to search for new opportunities.”

Barry also said that climate change factored into the university’s risk assessment in continuing to invest in oil and gas companies, as well, “as we expect a more volatile range of financial outcomes.” Earlier this week, Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a motion, 179 to 20, calling for that institution to make a similar commitment, WBUR reported.

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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