Daily Archive: March 13, 2017

Mar

13

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img March 13, 201712:17 pmimg 1 Comments

The room where it happened?

We may be on break, but the machine of Columbia bureaucracy never stops. This morning, President Bollinger sent out an email to the Columbia community announcing that the Trustees recently voted to divest from companies that are involved in thermal coal production. Thermal coal is primarily used in plants that generate electricity, and has the highest level of CO2 emission per unit of energy, according to a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI). The Trustees also decided to increase Columbia’s current efforts to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, and conduct more research in the area of global warming and climate change. This decision was the result of what Bollinger called “a lengthy and thorough process.”

After the factual part of the email, Bollinger gave a few comments about the relationship between divestment and Columbia in general. His three most important statements are: “divestment is an action the University takes only rarely and when it is determined to be in service of the University’s highest values”; “[the Columbia community’s] most powerful means of affecting the world for the better is through our basic research”; and “we must do all we can as an institution to set a responsible course in this urgent area of climate change.” Bollinger clearly aimed to emphasize the importance of the Trustees’ recent decision, while discouraging activist groups campaigning for similar divestment decisions.

The email concluded with Bollinger’s thanks for the members of the Columbia community who have caused this divestment decision to come about, and with a piece of foreshadowing: next month, there will be a “significant announcement” about future environmental sustainability at Columbia.

Read Bollinger’s full email after the jump

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