There are two recent pieces of news that exemplify the need for divestment on a structural level.
First–as I wrote before–Exxon announced that they were planning to disclose their carbon asset risk. But it remained to be seen whether or not Exxon would say that climate change posed a threat to their business. Well–lo and behold–they announced that climate legislation will probably not affect fossil fuel sales (and therefore profits). Unfortunately, that’s not surprising news. It means that Exxon is banking on the fact that political systems will fail to address (in any meaningful way) the greatest crisis that humanity has ever known. As representatives from As You Sow pointed out, Exxon is putting investors at risk by not even acknowledging the possibility of a “low carbon” economy.
Second, have you heard of the recent McCutcheon Supreme Court ruling? As HuffPo eloquently puts it: “McCutcheon v. FEC: Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Limits On Campaign Contributions.” This was a victory for big money, giving credence to a twisted logic that dollars can speak louder than words. The Nation reported: “the justices who make up the court’s activist majority have opted for full-on plutocracy.”
My point here is that these two recent events have strengthened the need for fossil fuel divestment. Companies won’t change because they don’t think that governments will enact meaningful legislation that will curb carbon use. And the political system is increasingly clogged by special interests, getting further and further away from the possibility of a price on carbon.
We divest to stigmatize the fossil fuel companies and their anti-social behavior. We divest to build the most inclusive powerful movement in history than can take back our political system and fight for our futures.