Divestment ethics and realities

Eliminating fossil fuels from investment portfolios hurts colleges, workers and poor families

2013-12-30-TuftsStudentsProtestingforDIvestmentFossilFuels-thumb[1]Guest essay by Paul Driessen

College students who support divestment of fossil fuel stocks are passionate about their cause. Just look at their word choices. Though they could never function even one week without hydrocarbon energy, they call fossil-fuel companies “rogue entities,” assert that oil, coal and natural gas interests have the “political process in shackles,” and believe most of the world’s known fossil fuel resources must “stay in the ground” to avoid “catastrophic global warming.” It’s a shortsighted view of energy ethics and corruption.

Their over-heated hysteria over climate change is fanned by groups like 350.org and college professors who rehash doom-and-gloom forecasts about rising seas, dying species and other cataclysms that they insist can be remedied only by terminating fossil fuel use and investments in fossil fuel companies.

But in their lemming-like rush to glom onto claims that human carbon dioxide emissions will destroy life as we know it, they reveal an abysmal understanding of true science, our planet’s turbulent climate history, creative free markets, and what academia once proudly espoused: open, robust debate.

Of course, deceptive information is exceedingly useful to community organizers and agitators, particularly those who occupy Oval Offices, endowed chairs, government regulatory agencies and Big Green war rooms – and want to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Bombarding impressionable students with such intellectually dishonest drivel is equally useful … and detestable.

Just as bad, too many students devote their time and energy to divestment campaigns, when they should be learning and applying critical-thinking and ethical skills. Honest analysis reveals that divestment will have negligible to zero effects on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, climate change or energy company stock prices, even if every university in the country gave in to the students’ anti-fossil fuel pleas.

Indeed, college and university endowments are not large enough to create even a ripple in fossil fuel investments. A recent Bloomberg analysis found that university endowments have about $400 billion invested in stocks; the National Association of College and University Business Officers puts the figure at $456 billion. Of that, only about 2.1% was invested in fossil fuel stocks in 2010-2011. That is a pittance in the overall stock market, which was valued at some $18 trillion in 2012 and now is much larger. In fact, it amounts to only about 0.05% or a nickel out of every $100 – and any fossil fuel stocks sold by an endowment would be purchased by another investor almost immediately.

Moreover, fossil fuel stocks historically have been good investments for schools. A Sonecon study found that endowment investments in oil and natural gas equities in 2010-2011 provided returns of a whopping 52.8% – nearly twice the returns from all other U.S. publicly traded stocks, real estate securities and foreign equities. This fact is not lost on university presidents, who have a fiduciary duty to grow their endowments, to pay for student scholarships, new and remodeled facilities, and other expenditures that further their educational objectives.

American University trustees voted against divestment in November 2014, saying AU financial advisers “could not provide assurance that the effect of divestment would not be insignificant.” Actually, a recent Compass Lexecon analysis found that an investment portfolio totally divested from fossil fuels lost 70 basis points and cost significantly more every year in management fees to keep them “fossil-free.”

When asked whether he would sell University of Colorado fossil fuel stocks, President Bruce Benson said flatly, “I’m not going to do that.” Similarly, Harvard University President Drew Faust rejected demands for divestment and reminded proponents that Harvard “exists to serve an academic mission.” Harvard must be “very wary of steps intended to instrumentalize our endowment in ways that would appear to position the University as a political actor, rather than an academic institution,” she stated.

Just as importantly, the world’s largest energy companies dwarf the likes of ExxonMobil and other U.S. firms – but are owned by foreign governments and are not publicly traded. Caterwauling college kids at Stanford, Swarthmore and elsewhere will not cause companies to abandon what they do best: develop and produce fossil fuel energy for people who need them for jobs, living standards, health and welfare.

That raises this discussion’s most critical point, which is generally brushed aside by divestment advocates. These campaigns are part of a global anti-hydrocarbon crusade that would inflict enormous harm on working class families, and even worse consequences on Earth’s most destitute citizens.

In 2012, coal, oil and natural gas supplied 87% of the world’s energy, Worldwatch Institute figures show. Further, despite the Obama Administration’s war on coal, International Energy Agency data reveal that global coal usage is rising and by 2017 will likely supplant oil as the dominant energy resource.

Fossil fuel companies and their shareholders know traditional forms of energy will continue to power the world for the foreseeable future, because there are no viable alternatives. Solar, wind and other energy resources cannot supply enough energy to meet the world’s needs; they are not price competitive without huge subsidies; and they require fossil fuels and millions of acres to manufacture, install and operate.

Nor is it sufficient to claim anti-fossil fuel demands are well-intended, when the real-world consequences are so readily apparent and so easily predicted. In developed nations they cost jobs and degrade living standards, health, welfare and life spans. In poor countries they perpetuate electricity deprivation, unsafe water, disease, squalid environmental conditions, inability to adapt to climate changes, and early death.

To inject these vital ethical considerations and counter climate cataclysm concerns, students at a number of colleges and universities have launched Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACTcampus) chapters to promote free markets, less government intervention and regulation, and better lives for more people. Their motto is “scientific truth without the spin.”

The University of Minnesota chapter proclaims that “Western values of competition, progress, freedom and stewardship can and do offer the best hope for protecting not only the Earth and its wildlife, but even more importantly its people.” These sound science and “stewardship of creation” principles should guide discussions, debates and decisions on all campuses. So should accurate information about climate change.

Divestment activists often claim that climate science is settled. Far from it. The supposed connection between carbon dioxide and planetary temperature is far from proven. Indeed, contrary to alarmist forecasts and computer models, Earth’s temperature has not budged for 18 years, the United States has not been struck by a Category 3-5 hurricane for a record nine years, “extreme weather events” have not become more frequent or severe during the past 100 years, and other “crises” have not materialized.

Nevertheless, both NOAA and NASA, perpetual purveyors of scary climate headlines, have again used ground-based data to pronounce that 2014 was the hottest year on record. These temperature reports “are ridiculous,” say experts like Dr. Tim Ball, historical climatologist and former professor at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The measurements are taken mostly in always warmer urban areas, the raw data have been “adjusted,” “homogenized” and manipulated, and the alleged year-to-year differences are measured in hundredths of a degree – a mere fraction of their margin of error!

Moreover, it is impossible to get accurate average global temperatures based on ground stations, because the data do not exist, Dr. Ball notes. “There are virtually no data for 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans, and practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest.” So NASA “just invents data” for these areas.

Unfortunately, instead of facts, campus politics will likely drive divestment demands this weekend (February 13-14), when college students demonstrate, hold sit-ins and organize flash mobs for Global Divestment Day. In many ways, to quote Macbeth, it will be “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” But for many people, the consequences could be dire – or even deadly.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

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Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 4:13 am

Boycotting gas stations would be a good start.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 6:29 am

Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 at 4:13 am
Boycotting gas stations would be a good start.

The other good place to start is to refuse any more funding from fossil fuel companies for universities.

WUWT – October 15, 2013
Oh the pain! #Kochmachine is in many American universities
Colleges and Universities with Programs Supported by the Charles Koch Foundation
September 2013
[Over 250 universities / colleges / polytechnics INCLUDING University of Virginia and Pennsylvania State University]

Oh Mann, here are some more.

Exxon Mobil Corporation
2012 Worldwide Contributions and Community Investments
…….Pennsylvania State University [$] 258,230…..
Exxon Mobil Corporation
2011 Worldwide Contributions and Community Investments
………….Pennsylvania State University [$] 197,406…..
ExxonMobil and Employees Donate $2.5 Million to Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities

Reply to  Jimbo
February 16, 2015 10:44 am

I wish they would divest themselves of Koch money; maybe then the Koch brothers would start spending their money more wisely.

George E. Smith
Reply to  Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 6:39 am

Well any fool knows that climate justice takes 30 years to happen, and the cherry pickers know which years to use.

George E. Smith
Reply to  Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 6:50 am

Well the same neo-idiots all clamored for “mineral justice” back in the days of the aparthate era in South Africa.
They wanted their colleges and such to stop doing any trading with companies that do business in South Africa.
This of course included the 43 strategic minerals absolutely essential to our defense industries, for which South Africa was the principal source of supply.
For many of them, the Soviet Uniion was the only second source; you know that nice friendly human rights kosher Commie block of the cold war era.
We didn’t have the luxury of NOT doing business with South Africa.
Fortunately, the SA blokes adjusted their policies, before our defences collapsed completely.
And Rugby football got back on the up and up as well.
These street twirps are akin to the face up guillotine subject who pointed out why the blade up there was jamming all the time.

Don Perry
Reply to  Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 12:18 pm

A better starting point would be to divest themselves of all synthetics made from “fossil fuels” that they are using or wearing.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
February 16, 2015 1:27 pm

gas stations boycotting selling gas to Hollywood celebs and democrat politicians would be a good start.
Lets make them live by their own dogma first.

Just an engineer
Reply to  ut8t5
February 17, 2015 8:51 am

Nah, just charge them 4 times the going rate.

February 16, 2015 4:21 am

Recently, the Dunedin city council, in New Zealand, issued a statement that it will divest from fossil fuels. I just wonder how they will manage refuse collection, water treatment, hospitals, schools etc etc.

Reply to  Patrick
February 16, 2015 4:32 am

Divesting doesn’t mean a halt of use, it only means you don’t own evil oil stocks. It’s the same way many say that everyone should stop using so much electricity but refuse to curtail their own use.

Reply to  Arsten
February 16, 2015 6:22 am

Funny! You miss the underlying trend. Divesting fromt oil stock, eh? BAH! It drives the world. These people, here in Dunedin, believe they can do the same with wind and solar. It’s not about being sensible, it’s about being stupid!

Reply to  Arsten
February 16, 2015 6:43 am

These sad fools have no idea how their modern western lifestyles are tied up in fossil fuels. Even buying your favorite cafe latte involved fossil fuel powered ships to get the beans to the West!
Will they boycott public transport that drives down asphalt roads. Big petroleum product right there. I could go on and on ad infinitum, but sensible folks here know exactly where I’m coming from. The end of their way of life would come about more abruptly that abrupt climate change if they went fossil fuel ‘free’ – allegedly. ;-p

Reply to  Arsten
February 17, 2015 10:55 am

Well, consider me divested … I don’t own any evil stocks (I do have a few quarts of oil in the garage … I don’t think that they are evil though). For what its worth, I don’t own any evil silverware either (although I did cut myself with a knife a few months ago).
My cat seems evil at times, so if inanimate objects like stocks or silverware can be evil, then I guess I can claim that my cat is truly evil as well.
Maybe not, maybe its just that you have a very skewed version of what is, or can be, evil.

George E. Smith
Reply to  Patrick
February 16, 2015 6:33 am

It’s just them cheapscots whot lives there.

Reply to  George E. Smith
February 16, 2015 6:40 am

A rash (In local gobblemin’t) spreads, and is very itchy!

George E. Smith
Reply to  George E. Smith
February 16, 2015 3:38 pm

I think Dunnydin is a synonym for farting !

February 16, 2015 4:37 am

These students are almost entirely from liberal arts majors, with no knowledge of the history of most US universities. Universities created under the Morrill Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morrill_Land-Grant_Acts all have Ag schools for the improvement of agriculture in their states. Most geology schools were created to assist in the development of mineral resources.
As a graduate of WVU I know the geology and engineering schools there exist due to the assistance of the coal industry.

Reply to  Fraxinus
February 16, 2015 7:22 am

Those students need to read the following published a few days ago on NTZ. Reality strikes an idealist who wanted to live it out with nature in Scotland etc. Gone were the comforts of life and he had a low carbon lifestyle.

NTZ – 13. February 2015
A Look At The Utopian Minds Of Environmentalists Shows Derangement, Confusion And Reality-Disconnect
He himself was soon fed up with sleeping under rancid fleece blankets … the sanitary arrangements were grotesque. […]
It soon became apparent that ‘the whole experiment had been a huge mistake’. […]
Evans was eventually detained under the Mental Health Act in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. […]
He fretted unduly about global warming and ‘the looming energy crisis’…

Reply to  Jimbo
February 16, 2015 7:27 am

PS, the chap mentioned above is an academic.

Reply to  Jimbo
February 16, 2015 12:46 pm

Yuk, untanned sheep hide. Can you imagine the maggots and shit crawling around that camp? The reality survival show on Australian TV ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ has more sanitary conditions compared to what this dimwit was going through.

H.R. (Currently getting a little Climate Justice in Florida)
February 16, 2015 4:45 am

Climate Justice – That’s why students in Northern US schools take Spring Break in Florida, Texas, and other warm locals. It’s unfair that the climate on their campus is so cold. They deserve climate justice and a couple of weeks of warmth, right?

February 16, 2015 5:11 am

They sure picked the wrong time to campaign for divestment. Oil stocks are a really good buy at this time because oil and gas prices are down, and they will be going up in the future. Given the forthcoming age of oil and gas scarcity, I suspect many oil companies will slowly shrink production and buy their own stock. This ought to yield good returns to today’s purchasers.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
February 16, 2015 10:53 am

Given the forthcoming age of oil and gas scarcity, …
Folks have been predicting such scarcity since the first years of their use. It is going to be “real soon now” – as has always been the case. Besides, coal is also in the mix and various other carbon based fuels.
So, the issue is not scarcity but the lack of any alternative. As you say, the smart money folks are already aware of the investment opportunities. There have been several recent stories in the investment pages of major newspapers.

Old England
February 16, 2015 5:18 am

Here’s a real example of what ‘divestment’ could mean:
Currently in the UK a major LPG supplier is without stock due to problems at a refinery producing LPG (butane). They are currently unable to refill bulk tanks and at many of their depots they have run out of bottled gas – with the situation worsening every day. There is currently no estimate of when repairs to the refinery will be completed nor when supplies can be made from it.
Two properties I own are fed from an underground tank through what is known as a ‘metered estate’ with 8 properties fed from the tank through separate meters.
The tank ran out 4 days ago and so 8 familes have been without central heating and unable to cook using the gas hobs and ovens in the properties. Not much ‘fun’ for any of them in the middle of winter – the only saving grace being that when I built these properties I put a wood burning stove in each, so there is some heat.
Perhaps some of the anti-fossil fuel green activists would like to turn off their own heating and give up on cooking to see what they are really asking for and, given the unreliability of wind and solar, are likely to begin experiencing in coming years.
The politicisation of education in the western world has a great deal to answer for.

February 16, 2015 5:20 am

How does one divest from ideological drivel?

Reply to  thingadonta
February 16, 2015 5:56 am

Support/attend Hillsdale College

Reply to  Doug Huffman
February 16, 2015 8:19 am

I do.

CR Carlson
February 16, 2015 5:23 am

No shortage of useful idiots on the campus scene.

Harry Passfield
February 16, 2015 5:24 am

“There are virtually no data for 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans, and practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest”

I guess there is double counting here as that makes 155%.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 16, 2015 5:33 am

The 70% is ocean, the other percentages are out of total land area, not total surface area.

Proud Skeptic
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 16, 2015 5:36 am

I believe the percentages in the second half of the sentence are to be applied to the thirty percent of the area that is land. Hence “of land area”.

George E. Smith
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 16, 2015 6:37 am

Well I guess you aren’t allowed deserts up in the mountains or have trees grow on them.
That would make for overlapment of categories, and all categories have to be mutually exclusive, just for the simple minded.

Just an engineer
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 17, 2015 8:58 am

Try reading it again.
“and practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest””

February 16, 2015 5:25 am

The coldest week in 40 years for demonstrations against warm weather is hilarious!
This is one wish they WILL get: it will be colder, much colder in the future. Why aren’t they celebrating their victory?
Too cold! 🙂

old construction worker
February 16, 2015 5:34 am

Back in the 70’s when the war on coal started there was a saying. “Screw them, let freeze in the dark.”

February 16, 2015 5:37 am

While I agree that the disvestment groups are crazy, I’m disappointed that this article is a political piece rather than the science and statistic based articles I’m used to seeing here.

Reply to  RCM
February 16, 2015 5:59 am

Look into interactive IPython books that pull the data and calculate the conclusion before your eyes. Very impressive.

Gary Pearse
February 16, 2015 5:46 am

I note, as usual with these issues, the protesters are all young white kids, two thirds young women (in the photo). From a bit of experience and observation, they will all be arts ‘lite’ kids – their professors have added on this kind of “intellectual” ballast to make up for the empty curriculum they teach to. A protest a few years ago of University of Montreal students lasted all summer, plugging the streets of the city over a tuition increase (it came out that U of Montreal already had the lowest tuition on the continent) and shutting down a number of faculties.
My concern was that we had funded a research project at the university’s Ecole Polytechnique (engineering faculty) as input into a pilot plant design for my client. I went to Montreal to see what was up and found E.P. was busy working on the project and it was business as usual – not to worry. They told me that none of the science and engineering or other ‘serious’ faculties joined the protest.
Also, in another city, a friend’s estranged daughter was a paid organizer for protests over international issues who went to campuses and rounded up the same kind of sweet-faced kids you see in the photo of this article. She got into it through a rabid activist professor. These things are fun and exciting for these otherwise bored and unchallenged sheltered children. I always thought the daughter each time was really creating a throng for protesting her relationship with her father.
Paul, your essay is perhaps too focussed in subject matter. As each generation passes through this ‘education’ into becoming bank tellers and shop assistants, a new smiling crop replaces them. This stuff is a permanent tax on the productive sector. It has burned up the resources that might have created decent lives in Africa and other poor areas of the globe. It has also diverted academic resources away from problem solving and advancement. Climate change is a big wake up call. We now see that this isn’t just harmless kids stirring up their hormones, but rather a concerted effort to destroy the fount of the world’s wealth and wellbeing generator.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 16, 2015 10:48 am

Nice comment.
The size of the mob is reassuring – although I’m not for an instant complacent given all that’s happened so far.

Michael C. Roberts
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 17, 2015 10:56 am

Mr. Pearse – You have provided us with a modern-day example of Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” – or a reasonable facsimile thereof!

John W. Garrett
February 16, 2015 5:51 am

Writing as one who spent a career in institutional investment management, I will state that fossil fuel divestment is an idiotic idea.
It is idiotic for a number of reasons:
(1) active (as opposed to passive, a/k/a indexation) investment managers already struggle to match index returns. Adding a further constraint/complexity is not going to help,
(2) mixing politics and investing is a bad idea,
(3) the entities who construct and maintain the benchmark indices against which active investment managers are judged (e.g., Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, Russell, MSCI, etc.) are not about to drop fossil fuel companies from their indexes (where they have a not-insignificant weighting),
(4) managing capital by committee is a virtual guaranty of mediocre investment performance. Allowing the young and the stupid (a/k/a students and political activists) to determine investment policies is the definition of dumb, and
(5) those charged with the management of endowments and foundations have a fiduciary obligation (a legal one, in part, and a practical one, as well). Students, faculties and political activists do not.

Reply to  John W. Garrett
February 16, 2015 6:34 am

Oh come on now. The whole thing is idiotic including those in the pic. There they stand having come out of their fossil fuel heated dorms or other abodes, wearing synthetic clothing produced from the very thing they claim to hate, holding signs made of paper and cloth produced using fossil fuel generated energy. Even the messages they wish to convey were made using paint that almost certainly contains petroleum based products and the spray can they dispensed it from most likely pressurized with a hydrocarbon.
It takes years of indoctrination and higher level liberal “education” to produce such ignorant hypocrisy.

Reply to  rah
February 16, 2015 7:09 am

Good observations. Now look at what the students are walking on – looks like asphalt.

John W. Garrett
Reply to  rah
February 16, 2015 7:10 am

Of course, it’s idiotic. They are the very definition of “young and stupid.”

Jim Francisco
Reply to  rah
February 17, 2015 1:44 pm

I once believed that when someone said or wrote that city kids didn’t know that milk came from cows that they were just exaggerating. Now I think they were serious and correct.
Apparently they (kids) don’t have a clue where anything comes from even their own mommies and daddy’s financial support origins. Why do people continue to pay for their children’s brainwashing?

Reply to  John W. Garrett
February 16, 2015 7:36 am

The other two “elephant in the room” reasons are 1. OPEC, Russia, and other countries where the bulk of the production is controlled by State Enterprises. They produce over 2/3 of the world’s crude and condensate, and 2. Investments by OPEC and other wealthy actors. In other words, if those institutions sell cheap there’s going to be willing buyers.

February 16, 2015 6:15 am

Eliminating fossil fuels from investment portfolios hurts colleges, workers and poor families

It also hurts GREEN GROUPS. LOL. Funny thing is many green groups and alarmists fossil fuel funding! LOL.

May 2013
The Guardian
The giants of the green world that profit from the planet’s destruction
The Nation
Time for Big Green to Go Fossil Free
The Nation
Why Aren’t Environmental Groups Divesting from Fossil Fuels?

Reply to  Jimbo
February 16, 2015 6:43 am

Grants Search:- The Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Bill McKibben’s 350_dot_org: 6 grants from 2003 totalling US$875,000.00
Bill McKibben’s 1Sky_dot_org: 7 grants between 2007-2011 totalling US$2,100,000.00
(includes US$1 million ‘start-up’ grant)
The Sierra Club: 12 grants from 2009 totalling US$1,665,000.00
Friends of the Earth: 7 grants from 2009 totalling US$777,500.00
The Pacific Institute (President; Peter Gleick): 5 grants between 2004-2008 totalling US$670,000.00.
..to quote but five of the heavy hitters.
Oh…almost forgot;
The Heartland Institute => Your search results: 0 Grants
The Global Warming Policy Foundation => Your search results: 0 Grants

February 16, 2015 6:21 am

“The measurements are taken mostly in always warmer urban areas, the raw data have been “adjusted,” “homogenized” and manipulated”
Well. If the measurements are bad because of UHI etc that is a good reason to adjust them. So they do not show more warming than in non-UHI areas. Here is one temperature station:
Not good.
This happens to this after adjustment i BEST:
Which one does Driessen prefer? The red (unadjusted) or the blue (adjusted)?
(Per site policy, please use only one proxy server. Thanks. –mod.)

Reply to  rooter
February 16, 2015 6:56 am

He probably prefers that when a station is known to be incorrectly sited, rather than attempt to adjust it to what one thinks it should be, the site be removed from the data.
There is no amount of mathematical manipulations for the site you show that will tell us what the real temperature was on July 6, 2008 or any other date of temperature measurement by that station.

February 16, 2015 6:22 am

A week? Most of them wouldn’t be able to make it through 1 day without hydrocarbon energy.

Dodgy Geezer
February 16, 2015 6:31 am

“When asked whether he would sell University of Colorado fossil fuel stocks, President Bruce Benson said flatly, “I’m not going to do that.””
Why didn’t he say: “Sure, I can do that. Fees will rise 20% as a result. Your call…”

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
February 16, 2015 11:08 am

Are they paying? They expect you to pay and the POTUS agrees with them.

February 16, 2015 6:36 am

Their over-heated hysteria over climate change is fanned by groups like 350.org and college professors who rehash doom-and-gloom forecasts about……

350.org have taken fossil fuel generated funds from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. So has the Greenpeace Fund, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and the U.S. Climate Action Network to name just a few from the 200 recipients of oil money, many, many warmist groups in this list.
It’s worse than we thought?

February 16, 2015 6:53 am

Here is something to consider: a recent study reported in the Financial Times concluded that investment in alcohol and tobacco stocks outperformed all other investments over the last hundred years. I wonder if the same would happen with fossil fuel stocks if these idiots get their way. I agree with the poster who suggested that intelligent investors will readily purchase any fossil fuel stocks divested by the universities and other “tragically trendy” liberal groups.

February 16, 2015 6:57 am

It’s a shortsighted view
How about lunatic fringe generated?

February 16, 2015 6:59 am

Looking at the url of the top photo I gather it’s Tufts University near Boston.
This is just the weather and not the climate, but the irony burns! It’s worth remembering that the IPCC said less snow and cold in winter would be caused by global warming.

February 16, 2015
Boston Within A Foot Of Snowiest Winter In City’s History
……The wind added insult to injury. Wind chills hit -26 in Boston and -37 in Worcester……
http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/02/16/boston-within-a-foot-of-snowiest-winter-in-citys-history/comment image?w=620&h=349&crop=1

I wonder how many of those students will go fossil fuel free when they get to their bedrooms tonight. I hope they are cooking their evening meals with solar or wind. The madness has to stop.

Richard G
Reply to  Jimbo
February 16, 2015 9:05 pm

But the children of Boston aren’t supposed to know what snow is. Don’t the climastrologists know this? Who is currently in charge of the climate control knob? Have they not been trained for it’s proper usage?
What about the children of Chicago, St Louis, Detroit, Cleveland? The children of Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Greece or any number of European countries? They have all been exposed to snow, despite the best efforts of some teachers to bring them inside and cover the windows.

February 16, 2015 7:13 am

Please sell your fossil fuel stocks and buy renewable energy stocks instead. Al Gore wishes to trade $100 million worth of his shares with yours!

Richard G
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 16, 2015 9:23 pm

But if they sold the energy stocks, they would be profiting from fossil fuels. They will need to give them away to all that request them. Only those associated with the University or Green Groups would be ineligible, as they also could not profit from fossil fuels.
That reminds me. What about all those fossil fueled grants the Green Groups receive. Isn’t that like, hypocritical? Are they telling us by their actions, do as I say and not as I do? Are they just too busy trying to count all their grant money that they don’t have time to figure out where it came from?

Ralph Kramden
February 16, 2015 8:18 am

When I was in college I didn’t own any stocks, I barely had beer money. I doubt these college kids will have much of an impact on the stock market.

M Courtney
February 16, 2015 8:37 am

If the Paris talks are “successful” we will have to leave the fossil fuels in the ground. That would write off billions of dollars worth of assets and potential growth.
Divestment assumes that the talks will go that way and thus their policies make sense. And if people buy into their investment advice they are also being paid to lobby for that political outcome.
If it were big coal and oil (not big wind and solar) pushing for disinvestment in their competitors many would think it a bit off.
So why don’t these students think?

February 16, 2015 8:37 am

Those “brainwashed” college students, as well as their Professors, sympathizers and supporters, apparently don’t realize that they are demanding the “killing of the Geese that have been laying the Golden Eggs” that have been and still are directly responsible for their current comforts of life as well as their present and future health, wealth and well being.
To wit:
Just so you are aware, academia is a very narrow measure of intellect.
author: David Ball – December 8, 2013 – WUWT

February 16, 2015 8:46 am

I’m all for Climate Justice – mine and burn those hydrocarbons so we can put more plant food into the atmosphere.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 16, 2015 11:17 am

Excellent cartoon! Says it all.

Reply to  dbstealey
February 16, 2015 11:36 am

db – don’t give the trolls much of your time and energy (that’s what they want) – just identify them with a one time, quick response for those of us who haven’t been here very long and are learning, and pay them no further attention. Still, I thank you for your contributions. Keep that up.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 16, 2015 12:02 pm

This cartoon is no exaggeration. Like I said before almost EVERYTHING a typical anti-fossil fuel protester uses each day is either derived from fossil fuels or fossil fuel energy is used to bring it to him/her. That includes overseas holidays to tropical places.
Avocado & tropical fruits in supermarkets, locally grown food in supermarkets, Cafe Latte, concrete walkways, asphalt, cold drinks, hot showers, TVs, medicines in pharmacies, vegan food, public transport, skateboards, cotton clothing etc.

Reply to  NancyG22
February 16, 2015 2:15 pm

Even hypocrisy is a fossil fuel derivative.

Tom J
February 16, 2015 9:35 am

Um, I think we should utilize every law, every institution, every means imaginable (little bit of plagiarism here) to completely, and relentlessly encourage these students through every law, every institu…(oops, repetitive), to shoehorn their colleges, their professors, their faculty, and most particularly their college presidents, to divest all holdings – and I mean ALL holdings; no cheating – in fossil fuel investments. I’m very serious here. No kidding. Let’s not mess around. Every college, every stinking one, should be required, under the demands of their students, to completely, and utterly, and totally relinquish, surrender, divest, every single solitary penny in fossil fuel investment. If those schools teach something, well then, gosh oh golly, make those schools (with those private jets for college presidents, the 500-700K severances for their mere CFOs, the tenured faculty with their juicy retirements) walk the walk. And if it’s a plank, well they set it on the side of the ship – they can walk it.

DD More
Reply to  Tom J
February 16, 2015 11:10 am

Sounds good, but only if the professor’s pay and retirement funds are not supplemented with additional tax payer’s funding. Let’s make the ‘Ivory Tower’ residents live what they preach.

Reply to  Tom J
February 16, 2015 11:18 am

and zero carbon footprints – go all the way – no food in the dining halls or nearby stores, no cars on or off campus, no carbon-fiber bikes, no pumping water, no hot water, no fossil fuel based electricity, no clothes made in mills, certainly no “high-tech” fleece from Coke bottles, and no exhaling . . . except in departments of Mathematics, Physical and Natural Sciences and Health Sciences
College I retired from (quit actually my tenured position) is now developing a grad program in sociology that will not have any statistics courses – don’t need any as there’s just no point in having any data much less a need to analyze it. They will have earnest discussions about MSM readings and devise value sets for informing and influencing policy. I kid you not. Anti-science is a sickness upon the land intent upon de-industrializing, de-civilizing, and de-populating the planet. All for what? So entitled oligarchs can hunt saber tooth tigers with sticks while the lands and the oceans sink CO2 and Earth dies . . .

Neil Jordan
February 16, 2015 9:50 am

The Tuesday February 10 paper issue of The Wall Street Journal opinion section covered the divestment folly:
“The only ones to suffer will be colleges that earn less money for research, services and student scholarships.”

February 16, 2015 10:05 am

I refuse to have ANY money in “green”. Which isn’t really easy, because they keep popping up in relatively dishonest contexts. No money in wind turbine companies, nothing in solar, nothing in electric cars, nothing with buzzwords like “sustainable” or “renewable” in their mission statement.
The boomers are really doing their best to completely decimate our society. I’m fighting back in my own small ways.

Mike Henderson
Reply to  CodeTech
February 16, 2015 2:59 pm

“The boomers are really doing their best to completely decimate our society.”
What about those of that age group that felt that they had an obligation to serve in order to protect the society? They’re also called boomers.
I guess I’m a recidivist, I was a criminal then and one now by virtue of birth date.
Just can’t win.

Reply to  Mike Henderson
February 16, 2015 5:33 pm

I don’t think all boomers are bad. What I typed was shorthand for, “the left-leaning regressive communists that came of age during the 60s”, since they have had more influence on things than any other block of imbeciles.
ALMOST everyone who was at Woodstock probably falls into my broad stroke.

Craig Moore
February 16, 2015 10:39 am

The University of Montana has gone through the divestment debate. http://www.montanakaimin.com/features/article_46a663d8-5005-11e4-b32a-001a4bcf6878.html Risk-reward is multi-dimensional.

February 16, 2015 10:41 am

Living without fossil fuels
“They sought paradise in a Scottish field — and found hunger, boredom and mosquitoes”
Not for me.

Reply to  mwhite
February 16, 2015 11:21 am

they cheated – burning carbon wood

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Bubba Cow
February 16, 2015 12:34 pm

Bubba; look at the hut’s roofing, the limb on the right. They were using modern saws not stone axes. Cheating, very much indeed. I wonder how many modern tools they brought with them and how said tools were holding up.
They would have been better served to have read Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the flies.

February 16, 2015 11:24 am

These students could use a business class to learn what stocks actually are. Except for treasury stock, companies couldn’t care less about the “divestment” of their stock. They ALREADY HAVE THE MONEY FROM THEIR ORIGINAL SALE. Divestment to kids means selling it to someone else. Fine. Why should a company care that someone else owns their stock now? The kids could demand that the stock be burned, rather than sold. Fine, the company’s, and other shareholders’ stock, suddenly become more valuable.
College students who support divestment of fossil fuel stocks are too ignorant to know how stupid their demand is.

Keith Sketchley
Reply to  Gamecock
February 17, 2015 3:40 pm

Um, “Gamecock”, isn’t their potential reduction in stock prices if it was a big trend?
(Though someone herein questions how many energy stocks universities actually own.)

February 16, 2015 11:26 am

Imagine how fast the forests would disappear with no gas, oil, and coal. The same idiots who preach conservation, save the planet, bla bla bla, would kill for a twig to stay warm.

February 16, 2015 12:17 pm

“endowment investments in oil and natural gas equities in 2010-2011 provided returns of a whopping 52.8%”
How $$ was oil then? Bet they are not doing so well now.

February 16, 2015 12:49 pm

The future low level government employees of ‘Merica.

February 16, 2015 2:12 pm

I tell all geenies that if they think the EVIL oil companies make too much profits, they should BUY the stock and get some of that profit for themselves. The reply is usually something incoherent, concerning EVIL Capitalism.

February 16, 2015 2:27 pm

Ah divestment … if only greeners could think globally (if at all) and act locally.
I had a guy with climate rabies in my face yesterday. He was inquisitioning how I can ‘deny science.’
I am a geophysicist who does not own a car, for the simple reason that I love bicycles! (They are such an awesome invention. I marvel at the bicycle every time I climb on one.)
He on the other hand has his whole persona wrapped up in being a car collector, and prefers older models that get about two whales per gallon and belch out more than Pinatubo.
I pointed out his hypocrisy by asking why he does not get rid of his cars and join the ranks of cyclists. He was not happy.
I should get the jerk a bumper sticker that says: Do as I say, not as I spew.

George Devries Klein,PhD, PG, PGSA
February 16, 2015 6:07 pm

Endowment funds at all universities are managed by people with a background and understanding of financial markets. Choices about which investment to purchase are based on which will give the best and safest returns.
And that, as they say, is the bottom line.

Dr. Strangelove
February 17, 2015 1:06 am

These students are ignorant of finance. The stocks are traded in the market. You cannot divest without somebody else investing – buying your stocks. The oil companies don’t care who owns the stocks. They don’t even know all the stockholders as they are traded everyday. No effect to the companies.

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
February 17, 2015 6:01 am

The Stock Markets are the biggest and most complex Poker Game ever devised by man with thousands of “houses” selling their brand of “chips” at the “exchange” in pre-packaged bundles (IPOs) at a specified price …. to the millions of gamblers who begin buying n’ selling those “chips” to one another based solely on speculation that they will garner a profit at the end of the day.
And the only interest said “houses” have in that Poker Game is the market price of their “chips” in case they decide to sell more of them at the “market”. And the Tax Collectors luv that Poker Game because they “skim” a profit off of pretty much every “hand” that is played.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
February 17, 2015 7:53 am

Samuel, are you one of the students mentioned or just sarcastic?

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
February 18, 2015 4:34 am

HA, ….. have you ever placed a “buy” order with a Broker, ….. and if so, …. what was your reason for doing so?

February 17, 2015 4:23 am

Won’t they be surprised when they discover that they are being used as useful idiot.

Bruce Cobb
February 17, 2015 5:25 am

Pampered, priveleged, brainwashed and brainless hypocritical children marching and protesting for a cause based on lies, misinformation, and propaganda. What’s not to like?

February 17, 2015 12:23 pm

There is an easy solution to all of this nonsense. I call it the “Live Your Ideology Act” requiring universities to live out all of the crap those ponytailed knobs standing in front of their classrooms espouse. Universities that believe in divestment should divest themselves of the use of fossil fuels to run the buildings. Students grades will be redistributed in the name of “fairness ” as will tenure for faculty. Any research grants given to one department will be shared by all departments and “if one student fails, they all fail” will be put into practice. After approximately 5seconds of this that idiotic ideology will be history and the grown ups can once again start teaching the next generation.

Gunga Din
February 17, 2015 1:33 pm

These kids seem a bit confused. Their lead banner says, “Fossil Free”, but then they have those words crossed out. What’s the message?
“Fossil Paid”? “Fossil Needed” ? “Fossil Freed” ? .mod]

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 17, 2015 3:08 pm

Tax fossils? 😎

Keith Sketchley
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 17, 2015 3:36 pm

Whaddya want? College students who can communicate? Who can think?
(They contradict themselves, they presumably mean free of fossil fuels rather than dinosaur bones and fossilized tree trunks, ……)

Dr. Strangelove
February 17, 2015 7:09 pm

If these college kids want change, they should not divest. Instead they should invest in oil stocks. Buy enough shares to gain majority and take over the Board of Directors and appoint one of them as CEO. Then they can stop oil production and shift to renewable energy. These kids need a tutorial from T. Boone Pickens.

February 17, 2015 11:27 pm

I support divestment. Hopefully it will lower the price of those stocks. Then I can buy more. My parents took me to live in an energy poor society. So I did the same with my kids. Its like the cartoon above, very very rough. There is no way 99.9% of the world will support this.

February 18, 2015 2:31 am

Which raises the question about the role of Universities in a free society:
Why should Universities be allowed to continue to exist as semi-independent feudal states?
We have granted Universities the amazing ability to receive huge amounts of tax payer money, private money, use these resources with little accountability, run their own police forces, ignore the Bill of Rights, prejudicially hire workers and recruit students, use indentured labor in the form of athletes and research workers, and pay no taxes.
Certainly there is room for at least some modest reforms in this moribund reactionary sector of the economy.

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