Half of UK universities have committed to divest from fossil fuel

Half of UK universities have signed up to divest from fossil fuels in what campaigners say is a significant blow to the “social licence” of big oil.

Seventy-eight of the UK’s 154 public universities have joined the divestment campaign, either divesting or pledging to divest hundreds of millions from the fossil fuel industry.

Although some of the universities have only withdrawn from certain fossil fuels – such as tar sands or coal – others have already divested from all fossil fuels as part of what campaigners say it is an accelerating process of delegitimisation of the industry.

Chris Saltmarsh from the campaign group People & Planet said excluding the industry from universities was now “a mainstream and majority position”. Saltmarsh warned that those institutions that held out against divestment would be harshly judged by history.