The College Tribune can reveal that UCD currently does not invest in fossil fuel companies, according to documents viewed under the Freedom of Information act. This information was sought in light of a successful campaign led by Fossil Free TCD, which saw Trinity agree to divest its €6.1 million indirect investments in fossil fuel companies.
Niall O’Sullivan, a PhD candidate within the School of Archaeology, has been one campaigner investigating this issue together with UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) and the College Tribune. He told the Tribune he was happy with the news, but noted that ‘choice in investment is only one way in which we disturb the planet’. He would like to see UCD proudly affirm that there are no investments in fossil fuels and that they intend to keep it that way. O’Sullivan said that there is no single solution to climate change ‘and that is why I think all faculties of UCD have a role to play’.
In recent years, the pressure for other universities worldwide to divest their investments from the fossil fuel industry has increased. Campaigns by students and faculties alike, across the United Kingdom and United States, including Boston University, Harvard, Oxford, the University of Glasgow and many others, are calling on their universities to find alternative investments for their endowments.
UCD’s mission is to contribute to the flourishing of Dublin, Ireland, Europe and the world and they wish to do this through promoting sustainability. By avoiding investing in fossil fuel companies and through its involvement in Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP), UCD are helping to pave the way to tackling global climate change.
Last week the Dáil recently passed a bill to the committee stage that will look to divest Irish state investment in fossil fuel companies. Independent TD Thomas Pringle put the bill forward, speaking to the Tribune he stated he was glad to hear that UCD currently doesn’t have investments in fossil fuel companies’. However, he added ‘it would make a great statement if UCD came out as committed to being a Fossil Free campus into the future, regardless of the status of its current investments’.
“It would make a great statement if UCD came out as committed to being a Fossil Free campus into the future”.
President Deeks is also believed to be in favour of other ‘green’ initiatives, from using environmentally friendly coffee cups in the college owned cafes, to a campus wide ban on smoking following a university referendum in 2013.
Energy Systems Integration (ESI) is coming to the fore when planning, designing and operating the global energy system. It encompasses a multidisciplinary area ranging from science, engineering and technology to policy, economics, regulation and human behaviour. UCD is promoting investment models that responds to risks posed by climate change and by their avoidance of investment in high-carbon assets and prioritisation of sustainable alternatives.
Alison Graham | Senior Reporter