Youth Divest CA Colleges’ $234M From The Largest Filthy 15 Coal Corporations

Berkeley, CA- Coal is a polluting fossil fuel.  Data in a new report authored by California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) alumni Sarah Siedschlag reveals that the University of California (UC) Regents have about $234 million dollars worth of investments in the “Filthy 15” largest coal companies. The report, Reducing California Higher Education’s Support of and Dependency on Coal, also details UC, California State University (CSU), and California Community College (CCC) endowment holdings in the “Filthy 15.”  So the report makes the case for stronger clean energy investment policies.   

“These findings are a much-needed first step. Our public universities have for years been at the forefront of implementing best practices in sustainability, but this needs to extend to investment practices as well. Together, our schools have enormous power to influence the market. Endowments need to reflect the values and goals of our community, rather than environmental destruction for profit,” said Andrew Chang, CSSC Campaign Director. 

Records of endowment holdings through 2011 show that the $234 million the UC holds in the “Filthy 15” includes:

  • $25.8 million in Southern Company, the fourth largest carbon polluter internationally
  • $12.1 million in Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company
  • $19.1 million in Duke Energy, responsible for 1,248 deaths due to pollution in 2009

These numbers reflect only investment by the UC Treasurer and do not include individual campus foundations.

Student campaigns for sustainable investments are currently active at UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, and at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).  This is an incredible opportunity for schools in California to cement their reputations as the greenest in the nation,” stated Chelsea Lauwereins, a campus organizer at UC Santa Barbara. “Creating transparency in endowment holdings, divesting from coal, and responsibly investing in the clean energy sector are vital steps to building not only 100% clean energy campuses, but our nation’s clean energy economy. UCSB’s student body and many faculty and staff are in support of this initiative and we hope to work collaboratively with administration to achieve these goals.”

Contact: Kitty Bolte, Outreach Coordinator, (831) 227-8757, kitty@sustainabilitycoalition.org

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For me, a San Francisco Bay Area local, social and environmental advocacy is deeply personal. I have a strong sense of place shaped by my region’s majestic setting before California’s interior waterways and the vast Pacific Ocean. Raised in a working class, immigrant Bengali family, I developed a checkered identity and a knack to challenge dominant narratives of our world and society at an early age. My thirst for equity and justice came of age when I entered higher education and was introduced to its inspiring communities of organizers, their tireless work, and of others around the greater Bay Area. An advocate of many trades, I campaigned for fossil fuel divestment in the halls of San Francisco State University, and I marched to bring awareness to climate and environmental justice issues in my ancestral South Asia, and along the refinery corridor of the Northeast San Francisco Bay, where my hometown of Benicia, CA resides. A storyteller at heart, I have written for the Earth Island Journal, and have performed writing, communications, and social media outreach roles for Sacred Fire Foundation, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Bioneers, and Save The Bay.  

School: San Francisco State University, 2014; Humboldt State University (expected graduation 2019)
Past roles with CSSC: 2014 Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence Organizer
Major: B.A. Environmental Studies (Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice); M.A. Candidate, Environment and Community
Hometown: Benicia, CA
Contact: daniel@sustainabilitycoalition.org 

2 Comments

  1. Be sure to keep the Solar Wind Global Warming Hypothesis under cover. The empirical data substantiates it. It’s not like the C02 hypothesis that has failed miserably in predicting future warming trends!

  2. Chang and Chelsea, I’m so proud of everything you’re doing. Every day, we’re winning a little bit more!

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