Opinion

After midterm elections, climate fight becomes more urgent

In the Tuesday midterm elections, Democrats gained control of the US House and Republicans strengthened their majority in the Senate. It remains to be seen what this new balance of power will mean for U.S. climate policy over the next two years, but we are running out of time for decisive action.

On October 3, 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an updated report. Whereas the Paris Climate Agreement identified a goal of limiting warming to 2° C, this report recommends a limit of 1.5° C. That half degree could spell disaster for people living on coasts, drought-prone areas and corals. The IPCC is clear that achieving that emissions goal will take extraordinary global cooperation and rigorous policy. Furthermore, the report concludes that, over the next two decades, we need to double investments in renewable energy worldwide.

Fossil Free Mac is committed to pushing Macalester to become a leader in the transition away from fossil fuels and towards the future. In the past year, we’ve accomplished a lot. Last spring, the Social Responsibility Committee unanimously endorsed our proposal to place a moratorium on Macalester’s $40+ million in private oil and gas partnerships. Since then, we’ve had unprecedented contact with the board and received meaningful feedback that tells us they’re thinking deeply about our work. Over 50 faculty and staff have endorsed our proposal, signing a letter which states that “direct investments in oil and gas are contrary to Macalester’s publicly stated positions on the environment and climate change.”

Now our proposal is before the board of trustees which is working to establish a set of socially responsible investing guidelines. The next step is for the board to review our proposal using that new framework. In the meantime, FFM is not sitting idly. We are continuing to build student power, engage faculty and staff and connect with alumni.

Campus support is paramount to our organization and its success. To continue building momentum, FFM is hosting a teach-in next Tuesday 11/13 from 11:30-1:00 on Old Main 4 (Everest on Grand provided). This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about FFM, our proposal and the new IPCC report. Come for lunch and stay to get involved in a critically important issue.

Contributing Writers

November 8, 2018

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