KyotoNow! Name Change

KyotoNOW! was initially founded in 2001 and was named for the Kyoto Protocol, a international effort to curb carbon dioxide emissions.  Now, a decade and a half later, the  Paris Climate Agreement has effectively replaced the Kyoto Protocol; organizations worth $3.4 trillion combined have divested from fossil fuels; and issues of environmental and climate justice have finally surfaced in mainstream political discourse.  As such, our members have decided to change our organization’s name from KyotoNOW! to Climate Justice Cornell. We believe the change more clearly reflects our mission, which has evolved and expanded from its roots in the Kyoto Protocol


The recent occupation of Bobst Library

KyotoNOW! stands in full solidarity behind the members of NYU Divest and their allies in their occupation at Bobst Library earlier this week. We admire the passion and resiliency of our peers, as they braved the threat of severe disciplinary action in the name of climate justice. It’s a shame that the basic first amendment rights of free speech and assembly should be shunned at our nation’s supposed institutions of progressive thought and leadership. A shame that a university charged with molding leaders to solve society’s problems would threaten to suspend and evict the students who are holding their university to that standard. The 18 student activists may have vacated the elevator at Bobst Library, but their resiliency has inspired leaders across the country to rise up and stand by their side. The climate crisis will not wait, and the time is now for New York University to commit to a vote on divestment from the fossil fuel industry. In the interest of transparency, it is vital that NYU Divest have the opportunity to present their case to the full board of trustees and that after reaching a decision the board release a public rationale. #LeadWithUs #RiseWithUs #NYUDivest #NYU

National Faculty Divestment Network

What have you been up to this summer?

Faculty at universities nationwide have been connecting and sharing divestment resources!

Interested faculty should check out  their webpage, Facebook page, or Google Group to join the movement!

We note that faculty have been instrumental to the divestment campaign at Cornell!!!

Cornell faculty sent a strong message to President Skorton and the Board of Trustees last December when the Faculty Senate voted 46-13 in favor of divesting the university’s endowment from fossil fuels by 2035 and reaching carbon neutrality as a campus by 2035.

Valuable resources related to Cornell’s Faculty Senate vote are on our webpage here!

NY Communities Triumph Over Fracking Industry In Precedent-Setting Case

Historic day in New York State!

“Local communities have triumphed over the fracking industry in precedent-setting case decided today by the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

In a test case pitting community rights against the oil and gas industry, the Court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within municipal borders.”


Univ. of Dayton divests its $670M endowment from fossil fuels!!!!

Citing Catholic social teachings, the University of Dayton announced today that it will divest its $670M endowment from fossil fuels.

University of Dayton President, Daniel J. Curran said, “We cannot ignore the negative consequences of climate change, which disproportionately impact the world’s most vulnerable people. Our Marianist values of leadership and service to humanity call upon us to act on these principles and serve as a catalyst for civil discussion and positive change that benefits our planet.”

“Rev. Martin Solma, S.M., provincial for the Marianist Province of the U.S. and a member of the board’s investment committee, believes the trustees can be both environmentally and financially conscious.”

” ‘We believe it is possible and necessary to be both responsible stewards of our planet and fiduciaries,” Solma said. “The tremendous moral imperative to act in accordance with our mission far outweighed any other considerations for divestment.’ ”

Regarding university finances, “Trustees and consultants working with the University are confident this investment strategy will not have a significant negative financial impact on the University.”


Cornell Employee Assembly Passes Resolution on “Investment and Divestment Strategies for a Sustainable Future”

Days before Cornell’s graduation, the Cornell Employee Assembly overwhelmingly passed Resolution 1 by a vote of 11-1: “Cornell Investment and Divestment Strategies for a Sustainable Future.”

Sponsored by EA members BJ Siasoco and Linda Croll Howell, the resolution recognizes “the effectiveness of divestment campaigns” and the “impact such symbolic campaigns can have in creating needed change.”

The Employee Assembly’s resolution aligns with KyotoNOW!’s goal of divestment without “negative financial consequences affecting staff employment and others at the university.” The 21 year phased divestment plan called for by the Student Assembly, Faculty Senate, and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly was chosen for just that reason — to allow Cornell’s investment managers ample time to shift money out of the university’s investment in the top-200 companies in terms of fossil fuel holdings.*

The EA’s resolution also asks Cornell to eliminate carbon emissions from the university by 2035. With the EA’s vote, all five assemblies at Cornell (Student Assembly, Faculty Senate, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, and University Assembly) have passed resolutions supporting acceleration of Cornell’s Climate Action Plan from 2050 to 2035.

Knowing the importance of accountability in University governance, the EA resolution asks that “the President of Cornell will submit an annual report to the Employee Assembly describing the progress that the University has made in becoming carbon neutral and efforts and considerations toward divesting from companies holding the largest fossil fuel reserves.”

Cornell employees have now formally joined undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in the movement to divest the university’s endowment from an industry whose business model benefits few at the expense of many. President Skorton and Board of Trustees: can you hear us?

*According to Cornell’s Investment Office, 3% of the university’s endowment ($5.7B at the end of the 2013 fiscal year) is invested in the energy sector. The “energy sector” includes utility companies and companies involved in the distribution and transportation of fossil fuels but do not own the fossil fuels themselves. Thus, 3% is an upper bound to the amount of money in Cornell’s endowment that would be shifted from fossil fuel companies to other investments.

Cornell Employee Assembly Resolution

Reed College Commencement Speech: Yes Men prank President and Board of Trustees

Notice the standing ovation at the end of the video that students and parents gave when Igor Vamos announced his alma mater had divested from fossil fuels!

KyotoNOW! blog updated!

We’ve made a lot of updates to our blog!

Sorry if you got overwhelmed with emails about this!

Check out all the awesome things we’ve been up to and the press we’ve gotten about it!

Stanford divests from coal!

Yesterday our friends at Divest Stanford successfully pushed their administration to divest from coal. Stanford’s leadership recognized what 8 of the 13 members on Cornell’s UA did not: that divestment is very feasible and very necessary.


University Assembly Ignores Voice of Student Assembly, Faculty Senate, and GPSA in vote

Shared governance has failed us. Despite the overwhelming passages of pro-divestment resolutions in the SA, Faculty Senate, and GPSA and the numerous public comments unanimously supporting divestment, the University Assembly has voted to pass Resolution 16, which explicitly declares against divestment. This is in spite of the clear necessity of bold climate action by such forward-thinking institutions such as universities. It is in spite of the overwhelming evidence that climate change will cause unimaginable damage to the livelihoods of the very people whom it is Cornell’s mission to serve. And it is ignoring the hypocrisy of profiting from the dirty fossil fuel industry while spending millions on campus carbon neutrality, and touting the cutting-edge renewable research done on campus. If you are disappointed by the UA, we most certainly are too. Now is the time to rise up and demand for divestment, because the UA is clearly out of touch with the realities of the climate crisis and the demands of its constituencies. The semester may be almost over, but we will come back this fall stronger than ever and ready to redouble our efforts to fight for divestment.