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Below is a template faculty letter
Dear University of Illinois Board of Trustees, President Killeen, and Chancellor Jones,
As faculty members at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and concerned citizens, we call upon the University to remove all investments in coal from the endowment as soon as possible and to exercise responsible investment policies. There is an indisputable scientific consensus that climate change is occurring now, is of unparalleled destructive potential, and is driven by carbon emissions resulting from human actions. As the most carbon-intensive fuel source, coal is rapidly accelerating climate change, and yet, we rely on coal for 40% of the world’s electricity.
Coal divestment is not only a moral necessity, but also a sound investment strategy. As of November, 2016, The Dow Jones Coal Index is worth 75 percent less than it was directly after the stock market crash of late 2008. For comparison, the Russell 3000 Index, which represents the stock market as a whole, has rebounded by 200 percent since its post-crash low. As public acceptance of carbon dioxide’s role in accelerating climate change becomes universal, environmental regulations will strengthen, and the coal industry will diminish.
The tide is changing; Illinois students voted 6:1 to divest from coal in 2013; 400,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March in New York September 2014 and in November 2015 the United States and China agreed on concrete reductions in carbon emissions. A growing number of institutions have committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment, including Stanford University, the City of Seattle, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. We applaud the University of Illinois’s efforts to reduce its own carbon emissions on campus through initiatives such as the Climate Action Plan, but these advances mean little if they are funded by investments in coal.
As a leading academic institution that prides itself on innovation, our investments should reflect the consensus of the scientific community and pave the way for progress rather than condone the practices of an outdated industry. We urge the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to divest from coal and adopt responsible investment policies.