What we believe

Climate change is causing untold harm. Climate change is both an existential threat to humanity and a driver of injustice at every level, with impacts already being felt across the world, disproportionately by marginalized communities.

The time to act is now. Tackling climate change requires an immediate and just energy transition away from fossil fuels, centering the interests of those communities most heavily impacted by the climate crisis.

The fossil fuel industry impedes climate action. The fossil fuel industry and allied interests disseminate false and misleading information to portray themselves as climate-conscious actors despite maintaining business models reliant upon the extraction of fossil fuel for decades to come.

Higher education is a crucial site for changemaking. Universities are influential cultural institutions that produce the knowledge we use to inform climate solutions and cultivate the minds of the next generation.

The fossil fuel industry is strengthened by its ties to higher education. Oil and gas companies attach themselves to esteemed institutions to greenwash their reputations and gain undue credibility. When universities agree to partner with the fossil fuel industry they bolster the industry’s social license to operate while contradicting their espoused commitments to climate action and promises of bright futures for their students.

Fossil fuel-funded research is an especially dangerous and underexplored mode of industry influence.The fossil fuel industry’s business model, predicated on rejecting the realities of the climate crisis and the dissemination of climate misinformation, is fundamentally incompatible with academic principles of free inquiry and the pursuit of truth. Despite this inherent conflict of interest, climate-related research funded by the fossil fuel industry continues to influence climate policy and the surrounding climate discourse to the benefit of industry interests. For far too long this form of industry influence has been largely ignored.

We need Fossil Free Research now. For academic institutions to realize their potential and duty for climate leadership, they must unequivocally reject fossil fuel industry funding, especially for climate-related research, and implement Fossil Free Research policies.

Why we unite

Together, we can win. The past and ongoing success of the divestment movement shows that when students, academics, and community members come together and collaborate across campuses they can win change even at the world’s wealthiest universities.

We center those most impacted by the climate crisis. Everyone is threatened by climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s deadly core business model, although such threats disproportionately harm marginalized communities. Global North fossil fuel companies unjustly extract wealth from the Global South, and so Global North universities have a particular moral duty to reject the money of an industry driving climate breakdown. This reality requires an approach to climate action rooted in building coalitions and collective power, with more privileged actors leveraging their privilege in service of and taking leadership from those on the front lines.

We believe in decentralized, grassroots change. Students, academics, and community members know their own campuses best. A broad grassroots coalition offers the best change-making capacity, united and supported by a central organization to enable continuity beyond any single student’s graduation.

How we make change

Strengthening our coalition. We engage, build relationships with, and develop the skills of fellow students, academics, and community members.

Taking action. We support taking action to expose the illegitimacy of the fossil fuel industry, and show that it is unwelcome in our educational institutions.

Framing the conversation. We foster critical public discourse around the fossil fuel industry’s infiltration of higher education and the dangers it entails.

Standing in solidarity. We build alliances with communities most affected by the corporations that our universities wrongly continue to see as reputable partners. While research funding is at stake at wealthy institutions, people’s very lives and livelihoods are at risk around the world due to the actions of the fossil fuel industry. International solidarity is the just response to this injustice.