THE BLOG

What Can Universities Do About Climate Change?

05/04/2015 04:55 pm ET | Updated May 04, 2016

There has been considerable debate about whether universities -- and, for that matter, foundations -- should divest fossil-fuel stocks from their investment portfolios as a way to reduce the risk of global climate change. My own institution, Harvard University, decided that such an action was neither warranted nor wise (a position that I have supported in a post on my personal blog as well as in a longer essay published on Yale University's Environment 360). Our sister institution on the West Coast of the United States, Stanford University, decided to divest coal stocks only, a position that apparently will have trivial implications for that university's portfolio, partly because it does not affect investments in funds in which coal stocks are commingled, such as exchange-traded and mutual funds.

A broader, more positive, and fundamentally more important question is what role universities should play in addressing the threat of climate change (a topic I have addressed on my personal blog in the past). On Sept. 23, 2014, the presidents of Harvard and Stanford co-authored an op-ed on precisely this topic, publishing it on The Huffington Post, and today I am pleased to share it with you. Read it here.