Guest skewering by David Middleton
Yale’s Endowment Won’t Divest from Fossil Fuels. Here’s Why That’s Wrong.
JENNIFER STOCK & GEREMY SCHULICK MARCH 8, 2019
Two climate activists and Yale alumni confront the arguments of Yale’s chief investment officer, arguing that he must summon the moral clarity to end support for fossil fuel companies.
At my 15th Yale reunion, my husband Geremy and I attended a talk by the university’s chief investment officer, David Swensen. In the largest lecture room of Linsly-Chittenden Hall, stained-glass angels representing music, science, religion, and art beamed on Yale’s “eight-billion-dollar man” as he ascended the podium. Clad in a white suit blazoned with broad blue stripes, a Yale man’s outfit circa 1920, Swensen launched into a jaunty lecture about the Yale Model, his signature approach to endowment investing, which has yielded unparalleled 13 percent returns per annum over the past 30 years for the $29.4 billion endowment.
The audience was made up of alumni working in finance, engaged in animated side-chatter about hedge funds. My husband and I, though, are climate activists, and we were there because we want Yale’s endowment, the second-largest in the world, to divest fully from its fossil fuel holdings. If it did, it would join cities like New York and Berlin, institutions like the World Bank and the American Medical Association, and schools like Queens College, Cambridge, and Middlebury College. We wanted to understand the perspective of a renowned investor, one whose actions and attitudes are closely watched and often mirrored in the broader world of institutional investing, on taking this important symbolic action.
At a lecture at Clare College, Cambridge, Swensen stated that modern society depends on fossil fuels, and “if we stopped producing fossil fuels today, we would all die … the real problem is the consumption of fossil fuels, and every one of us in the room is a consumer. And I guess it’s a little harder to look in the mirror and say I’m part of the problem.” Swensen’s statement is a gibe at unrealistic activists. He seems to be saying, climate change is a threat, but are you really not going to board your next flight to Miami?
At its essence, divestment is a symbolic, culturally punitive act. Yale’s divestment would not subtract from the supply of fossil fuels available to burn.
The American Prospect(s)… (Are dim if these climate activists are typical of the results of Ivy League education – DHM)
Honestly… Is there any logical difference between this:
“At its essence, divestment is a symbolic, culturally punitive act.”–Yale-educated climate activists Jennifer Stock and Geremy Schulick, 2019.
Otter: Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now, we could fight ’em with conventional weapons. That could take years and cost millions of lives. Oh no. No, in this case, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
ΔΤΧ Rush Chairman Eric “Otter” Stratton and future US Senator John “Bluto” Blutarski,, Faber College, 1962.
Bluto: And we’re just the guys to do it.
Is it just me… Or does it strike you as odd that college graduates, 15 years after graduating, would even care how their alma mater was investing its money? Shouldn’t they have jobs by now? Clearly in 1977, Otter, Boon, Pinto, Flounder, Bluto and D-Day weren’t bugging Faber College about its endowment. I went to college in the same city as the Yale climate activists (different school), graduating in 1980. I haven’t even been back to my campus since 1988 or 1989 – and then it was just to visit my professors. At the time of my 15th reunion (assuming Southern Connecticut Class of 1980 even had a 15th reunion) in 1995, I was busy drilling wells, finding oil & gas, in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m still busy doing that today. I’m sure that Southern Connecticut is fully invested, at least philosophically, in Greentardia. Do I care? No. I don’t give a rat’s @$$. I have work to do.
If every university endowment fund divested from fossil fuels, it would have this much impact on our magnificent “Climate Wrecking Industry”…
And… Yes… From the moment I went to see Animal House at a New Haven movie theater in 1978, it has been one of my favorite movies. I always viewed it as a sort of instructional film for campus conduct… 😉
David Middleton is a 1980 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University (College back then). He has been a proud member of the Climate Wrecking Industry since 1981, a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists since 1981 and American Association of Petroleum Geologists since 2004.
PS… How about that Trump-Russia Nothing Burger! MAGA!!!