OPEN LETTERS TO PRESIDENT L. RAFAEL REIF:
Dear President Reif and the Executive Committee,
We, the undersigned faculty of MIT, write in support of divesting MIT’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. The unique position of the Institute provides us with both the means and the obligation to take bold action against the harmful effects of climate change.
One of the clearest and most powerful ways to demonstrate our seriousness about tackling catastrophic climate change is to divest from fossil fuels, as part of a multi-faceted climate action plan.
We support divestment - as one of the Institute’s actions - for reasons including the following:
Divestment recognizes the scientific necessity of drastically and rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid global warming beyond the 2 degree Celsius limit agreed to by virtually every country on Earth. At least two-thirds of all existing global fossil fuel reserves must never be burned, yet every year the fossil fuel industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars looking for more.
Our integrity is at stake. Many fossil fuel companies have a proven record, past and present, of actively working to obscure the scientific consensus around climate change. By continuing to invest in these companies, we knowingly endorse efforts to undermine MIT’s commitment to scientific analysis and practical action for the betterment of humankind.
Divestment is the moral course of action, and also the financially prudent one. Any solution to climate change will require an unprecedented reduction in the demand for fossil fuels. Many of the world’s foremost investment experts are warning that fossil fuels are overvalued in light of their dangers, risking trillions of dollars of stranded assets.
Divestment is not only right, it is powerful. Over the decades, divestment has proven effective at engendering the political will needed for bold leadership and legislation. MIT recognized this when it divested in 2007 in response to the human tragedy in Darfur. The impact of universities’ thought leadership on public perception is tremendous.
By divesting from fossil fuels, MIT can call out the contradictions between the fossil fuel industry’s business practices and the requirements for a safe and stable future. The social and political momentum created can help shift the efforts of both policymakers and industry toward development of sustainable resources. And as a component of a larger strategy, divestment inspires hope and galvanizes passion and action in both society and our students.
We do not call for divestment lightly, and the bounds of divestment must of course be carefully chosen. But in the end, we have a moral obligation to future generations - our children, our students, and beyond - to do everything we can to limit the most devastating consequences of human-driven climate change.
We stand alongside thousands of MIT students, staff, and alumni in urging you to divest the Institute’s endowment from fossil fuels as part of a comprehensive climate action plan.
The undersigned faculty of MIT.
Faculty Signatories: Scott Aaronson, Assoc. Professor; Frank Ackerman, Lecturer; Takako Aikawa, Senior Lecturer; Eric Alm, Assoc. Professor; Angelika Amon, Professor; Deborah Ancona, Professor; Jolyon Bloomfield, Lecturer; Karen Boiko, Lecturer II; Louis Bucciarelli, Professor Emeritus; John S. Carroll, Professor; Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired); Ian Condry, Professor; Jane Abbott Connor, Lecturer II; Bruno Coppi, O.M.R.I., Professor; Sasha Costanza-Chock, Assoc. Professor; Jennifer Craig, Lecturer II; Daniel Cziczo, Professor; Michel Degraff, Professor; Junot Díaz, Professor; Robert G. Eccles, Lecturer; Elfatih A. B. Eltahir, Professor; Dara Entekhabi, Professor; Roberto Fernandez, Professor; Danny Fox, Professor; Robert M. Freund, Professor; Eric Goldberg, Assoc. Professor; Margarita Ribas Groeger, Senior Lecturer; Marah Gubar, Assoc. Professor; Timothy G. Gutowski, Professor; Charles F. Harvey, Professor; Sally Haslanger, Professor; Colette L. Heald, Assoc. Professor; Stefan Helmreich, Professor; Erica Caple James, Assoc. Professor; Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Assoc. Professor; Jason Jay, Senior Lecturer; David Keith, Asst. Professor; Christine Kelly, Senior Lecturer; Michael Kenstowicz, Professor; Jonathan Alan King, Professor; Daniel Kleppner, Professor Emeritus; Judith A. Layzer, Professor; Sabine Levet, Senior Lecturer; Ceasar McDowell, Professor; David McGee, Asst. Professor; Vann McGee, Professor; Dennis McLaughlin, Professor; Haynes Miller, Professor; Nick Montfort, Assoc. Professor; Robert Nachtrieb, Senior Lecturer; Leslie Norford, Professor; James B. Orlin, Professor; Ozalp Ozer, Professor; Heather Paxson, Professor; Lee David Perlman, Senior Lecturer; David Pesetsky, Professor; Martin Polz, Professor; Bjorn Poonen, Professor; Jeffrey S. Rawvel, Professor; Norvin Richards, Professor; Susan Ruff, Lecturer II; Frederick P. Salvucci, Senior Lecturer; Leona D. Samson, Professor; Hilke Schlichting, Asst. Professor; Andreas Schramm, Professor; Michael S. Scott Morton, Professor Emeritus; Kieran Setiya, Professor; Brad Skow, Assoc. Professor; Robert Stalnaker, Professor; Donca Steriade, Professor; John Sterman, Professor; T. L. Taylor, Assoc. Professor; Judith Jarvis Thomson, Professor Emeritus; John Van Maanen, Professor; Jing Wang, Professor; Roger White, Assoc. Professor; David Gordon Wilson, Professor; Stephen Yablo, Professor; JoAnne Yates, Professor.