As coal and tar sands become riskier sources of energy, are they still worthwhile investments? The University of California does not think so. The massive ten-school system recently sold $200 million worth of stocks it had in coal and tar sand companies.

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Amy Meyers Jaffe, a senior investment advisor for energy and sustainability at the University of California system, says the disinvestment was simply a sound financial decision.

JAFFE: “I think it was a very straightforward decision. I’m surprised that more universities didn’t follow our lead. It’s very hard to make a case today as an investor that you’re going to be profitable in holding, especially in the United States, coal mining companies.”

The university cited slowing global demand and growing environmental concerns as contributing factors. But much of its endowment is still invested in funds with more diverse fossil fuel holdings. A student-led movement is demanding that the university system go further and divest from all fossil fuels.

U Cal system shucks $200 million in coal, tar sand stocks in 'sound financial decision.' Click To Tweet

But for now the University of California’s decision to disinvest is solely market driven. Meanwhile, the university is investing in other green initiatives, including one billion dollars in climate solutions and pledging to become carbon neutral in just nine years.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Andrew Lapin.
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UC sells off $200 million in coal and oil sands investments
University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative

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