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Comment: Probably Wrong (Score 1) 203

by mdsolar (#48432897) Attached to: Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court
This letter from Harvard Magazine suggests you are mistaken:

In light of reporting in the July-August issue on Harvard’s position on fossil fuel divestment, we wrote Messrs. Paul J. Finnegan and James F. Rothenberg [members of the Harvard Corporation, and Treasurer and past Treasurer, respectively], expressing the perspective summarized below.

Harvard currently holds substantial investments in fossil fuel. The past is no longer prologue for this asset class.

The scientific community—including Harvard’s distinguished climate-related faculty—assert the world must hold global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees C above the preindustrial figure. Governments agree. And, yet, we have already gone half the distance to this ceiling, and are actually accelerating our rapid approach to it. We face an existential planetary threat.

By investing in fossil fuel companies that cling to the outdated business model of measuring success by discovery of new reserves, Harvard is encouraging (and expecting to profit from) the search for more fossil fuel—which will become unburnable if we stabilize global temperatures at levels necessary to sustain life as we know it. When the lid is put on, and carbon emissions are severely limited—as they must be—Harvard will be left holding stranded and devalued assets that can never be burned. (Proven reserves are three to four times what’s needed to transition to renewables by 2050.)

Across the country, hundreds of student organizations work to persuade their institutions’ endowments to divest. Sooner or later, as in the case of companies doing business in apartheid South Africa, divestment from fossil fuel companies will occur. Harvard should be among the first to do so. There are strong, independently sufficient arguments beyond the financial one of stranding to justify divestment. They include the moral (it is repugnant to profit from enterprises directly responsible for carbon emissions or to allow shareholder funds to be deployed in searching for more fossil fuel), the practical (a well-led institution should not wound itself by permitting endowment holdings to demoralize faculty and students, with adverse effects on quality of education, enrollment, and campus environment) and, in Harvard’s case, the unique opportunity (and corresponding duty) it has, as one of a handful of world leaders in education, to lead on this planetary issue.

We support these other arguments for divestment. However, we wanted to bring the financial argument, in particular, to Harvard’s attention. Over the past three years, equities in the coal industry declined by over 60 percent while the S&P 500 rose by some 47 percent. Coal, we submit, is the “canary in the oil well.” Disinvestment now, before this opinion becomes commonplace, is just sound, risk-averse investment judgment, fitting well within the duties of a fiduciary.

Bevis Longstreth, J.D. ’61
Retired partner, Debevoise & Plimpton; former member, Securities and Exchange Commission

Timothy E. Wirth ’61
Former U.S. Senator, president of the United Nations Foundation, and Harvard Overseer

http://harvardmagazine.com/201...

Comment: Harvard Charter (Score 1) 203

by mdsolar (#48432853) Attached to: Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court
There are two aspects of the Harvard Charter which may give standing. First, the endowment has a specific purpose: "be for the advancement and education of youth, in all manner of good literature, arts, and sciences." And, good sciences say that investing in fossil fuels is a bad idea. Second, the Harvard Corporation is established so that it may be sued: "and also may sue and plead, or be sued and impleaded by the name aforesaid, in all Courts and places of judicature, within the jurisdiction aforesaid." http://library.harvard.edu/uni... So, disagreements about the endowment are supposed to be settled in court.

+ - Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight to Court->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "A group of Harvard students, frustrated by the university’s refusal to shed fossil fuel stocks from its investment portfolios, is looking beyond protests and resolutions to a new form of pressure: the courts.

The seven law students and undergraduates filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts against the president and fellows of Harvard College, among others, for what they call “mismanagement of charitable funds.” The 11-page complaint, with 167 pages of supporting exhibits, asks the court to compel divestment on behalf of the students and “future generations.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - Longtime Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship indicted - See more at: http://www.wv-> 1

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive officer of Massey Energy, was indicted Thursday on charges that he violated federal mine safety laws at the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners.

A federal grand jury in Charleston charged Blankenship with conspiring to cause routine and willful violations of mandatory federal mine safety and health standards at Upper Big Branch between Jan. 1, 2008, and April 9, 2010, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

The four-count indictment, filed in U.S. District Court, also alleges that Blankenship was part of a conspiracy to cover up mine safety violations and hinder federal enforcement efforts by providing advance warning of government inspections. The indictment also alleges that, after the explosion, Blankenship made false statements to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about Massey’s safety practices before the explosion."

Link to Original Source

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