Edinburgh students stage sit-in after fossil fuels decision

Students angry at institution’s failure to move to full divestment

May 13, 2015

Protesters at Edinburgh attend an earlier demonstration

Students have staged a sit-in at the University of Edinburgh in response to what they described as the institution’s “reckless and irresponsible failure” to fully divest from fossil fuels.

The protesters said that they would remain at Charles Stewart House, an administration building, until the university rethinks its decision to re-evaluate its investments in the coal and tar sands industries only.

In these sectors, Edinburgh said that it will only divest if realistic alternative sources of energy are available, and the companies involved are not investing in technologies that help to address the effects of carbon emissions.

The university will also require companies in which it invests to report on their emissions and they will be benchmarked according to best performance in the sector.

Charlie Jeffrey, Edinburgh’s senior vice-principal, said that the university would “use the leverage of [its] investments to bring about change that reduces carbon emissions in the fossil fuels and other sectors”.

But the occupying students said that Edinburgh should divest fully from fossil fuels within the next five years.

“The fact that our university has chosen to continue funding environmental degradation and human suffering shows that [it] care[s] far more about profit than our futures,” said Kirsty Haigh, vice-president (communities) at NUS Scotland who is a member of Edinburgh’s People & Planet society.

“Saying there may be divestment in the future from certain companies if they fail to meet criteria around their carbon emissions is no real commitment and shows the university [is] refusing to acknowledge [its] role in devastating climate change.”

An Edinburgh spokesman said: “The university fully supports the right of all students to protest lawfully and peacefully. The student body has been represented throughout Edinburgh’s fossil fuels investment policy discussions.”

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together