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93 Harvard Faculty Members Call On the University To Divest From Fossil Fuels

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the stop-burning-bro dept.

Earth 214

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "One hundred faculty members at one of the nation's most renowned university have signed an open letter calling on Harvard to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. Harvard's is the largest university endowment in the world. For the last few years, a national movement has called on on universities, foundations, and municipalities to divest from fossil fuels. Led by students, as well as organized groups like 350.org, it has seen a number of significant victories — at least nine colleges and over a dozen cities have pulled their investments in companies that extract or burn fossil fuels like coal and oil."

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Were the typos intentional (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | about 7 months ago | (#46722127)

That is all

Re:Were the typos intentional (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46722209)

No, they weren't intentional; but, given the submitter was a Harvard graduate, any spelling errors were understandable.

Re:Were the typos intentional (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#46722751)

Hey, at least they got some punctuation in there.

Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmills. (0, Troll)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#46722145)

Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmills. All that nasty fossil silicon and fossil carbon from previous supernova. It's clearly a limited resource, in any case.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46722493)

Oh don't worry, they "want" us to invest in expensive energy like solar and windmills. So you can go bankrupt trying to pay to refrigerate your food, or heat your house. I mean don't you want to be like Ontario(cdn), who will very soon have the most expensive electricity in North America? I mean we just got hit with a your electricity price will increase by 42% over the next 5 years. [canoe.ca] This is of course to cover the massive screw-over from FiT(Feed in Tariff) programs to pay for all of the green energy projects.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (0, Flamebait)

Cenan (1892902) | about 7 months ago | (#46722661)

Oh noes! Not completely fucking over the next generations, because you're a dipshit, costs extra??? Who'd a thunk it? I mean, come on, who gives a flying fuck about the weather in 100 years, right? Who cares one shit about somebody 5 generations into the future when you can save a fucking dime per kW used? Nobody, that's who! Mod parent up --

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722827)

Oh noes! Not completely fucking over the next generations, because you're a dipshit, costs extra??? Who'd a thunk it? I mean, come on, who gives a flying fuck about the weather in 100 years, right? Who cares one shit about somebody 5 generations into the future when you can save a fucking dime per kW used? Nobody, that's who! Mod parent up --

Since this anti-science sentiment seems to be largely limited to America, why don't let them stay in their denial and oil-focused economy and industry while the rest of the world moves on to take the lead with new technology and industry [wikipedia.org] . An America with less economic power and relevance in the world could be a good thing.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722993)

only one problem, the solution of windmills, DON'T FUCKING WORK dumb shit!!.

They are just subsidy farms.. the green eco loons have been swindled by big business (pretty easy as they hate nuclear, and can't do the maths, and would prefer you lived like peasants in a mud hut).

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#46723415)

only one problem, the solution of windmills, DON'T FUCKING WORK dumb shit!!.

Have they tried placing windmills near the ocean? It's very windy there.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723809)

Oceanfront property is expensive. Rich people have political pull. No one likes to look out at the beach and see windmills or blinking red lights. Put the windmills just behind the rich properties you say? Windmills are noisy. Windmills are ugly. Put them in poor people's land, not ours. That is why not.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46723119)

Because the benefits of fossil fuel usage are local, while the costs are global. It's your basic tragedy of the commons thing: The optimal strategy for each individual actor is to exploit the available resources maximally, but if everyone does that then it ends in disaster for all.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46722931)

You mock the poster yet a lot of people are in this situation. One of the biggest problems we have in Australia at the moment is rising electricity prices (nothing to do with carbon emissions, but rather to do with infrastructure spending). Yet there are people going broke with the 300% increase in electricity costs. Sure it's not everyone, but people in general are on edge, we've just crept out of a global economic fuck-up, manufacturing in this country has gone down the shit, and the cost pressures are being felt more and more.

Something's going to give, and you can see clearly what that is: Donations to disaster appeals and health research is number one, green energy is number two. Both of them are classed in the average person's view as something we can invest in tomorrow when the finances are looking a bit better.

People look out for number 1 first.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723037)

we've just crept out of a global economic fuck-up

Well the consequences were global, true, but the fuck-up is neatly limited to south manhattan and their lobbyists in dc.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 months ago | (#46723171)

Well the consequences were global, true

Not entirely. Here in Australia it was a only a minor perturbance (we rode it out on the back of Chinese demand for coal and iron). But we hate feeling left out, so don't tell anyone here that it was worse elsewhere.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (3, Insightful)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 7 months ago | (#46723161)

The average person's ability to "invest tomorrow" is piss poor, that's why they need a push sometimes. Investing in the short term now in renewable energy is going to result in significant price decreases in the future, especially when you consider the likely future path of oil prices.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (0, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46723021)

Oh noes! Not completely fucking over the next generations, because you're a dipshit, costs extra??? Who'd a thunk it? I mean, come on, who gives a flying fuck about the weather in 100 years, right? Who cares one shit about somebody 5 generations into the future when you can save a fucking dime per kW used? Nobody, that's who! Mod parent up --

A safe and secure world can't be built on human misery. In turn, it can't be built on human suffering. Cheap energy has been one of the greatest equalizers of modern civilization to let people improve their quality of life easily. But hey, never mind I'm sure you're also against nuclear power. As a fun and useful fact I live not all that far away from one of the largest nuclear generating stations in the world. [wikipedia.org] I have no problems with it in my backyard, would you?

So there Cenan, why don't you explain to all of us why it's good that we turn our backs on cheap energy. And increase the cost of it, where it will do no good over all. As well, where these "green energy programs" cause more environmental damage than others. Especially when you calculate in the refining, production, and extraction of various materials.

Pst. So which is it? Weather or climate, I always like it when even the most fervent people screw that one up.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723077)

At last someone with a brain!!.

Congratulations for actually thinking rather better than the brain dead Muppet reepating Eco-loon garbage you replied too..

Sankt Florians Prinzip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723209)

I live not all that far away from one of the largest nuclear generating stations in the world. I have no problems with it in my backyard, would you?

Well I would.

Of course I'd have much greater problems with a coal fired plant in my back yard. Obviously! But given the choice you can keep the nuclear plant (or solar farm or wind farm or 2nd airport) and I'll stick to my nicely wooded nearly sub-urban valley and let other folks suffer all that unsightly modernity. :p

But yes. Clearly nuclear is going to have to do much of the heavy lifting to get us out of this mess. What's the chance for humanity with nearly one half denying a problem even exists and the other unable to accept any of the realistic technological solutions? And who are more culpable, climate science denialists or anti-nuclear activists? Hard to tell.

Clowns to the left of me ... Jokers to the right ... Here I am ...

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 7 months ago | (#46723279)

You seem to be arguing against a different quote than the one you posted? Also "weather" is the correct term since he speaking in the ignorant words of his antagonist's voice.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46723689)

No I think I seem to be arguing against the right person. Perhaps you're just not following the conservation. And with that, sorry no "weather" is not the correct term.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 7 months ago | (#46723365)

" As well, where these "green energy programs" cause more environmental damage than others. Especially when you calculate in the refining, production, and extraction of various materials." - i think you are referring to fossil fuels in that statement.

"Who cares one shit about somebody 5 generations into the future" - i think you need to answer that statement as well to make your argument more valid.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46723715)

- i think you are referring to fossil fuels in that statement.

Pretty sure I'm talking about exactly what I stated. It's very similar to recycling paper, vs making it from new trees via tree farms. On average it takes 2-6 times more energy and water to make "recycled" paper than it does to make new paper. In turn, it takes a massive amount of energy to get, collect, refine, and turn minute amounts of trace metals required for specialized use in many of these green energy projects. And many of the processes are exceptionally toxic for the environment.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 7 months ago | (#46723925)

and its takes nothing to mine, process, refine and transport fossil fuel?

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (0)

flyneye (84093) | about 7 months ago | (#46723695)

Sounds like you believe the crap poured in your ear by Koch owned media.(guess what, they own a bunch of utility companies as well) Poke around, youll find the fishiness of your posit leads to carp.
            And, uhm, yeah, Im sure Haavards board is going to see the light, decide money is evil and quit investing in money making projects. Probably hold hands, sing Kum Ba Yah and march down to the Bull and Finch for a beer afterward.

Re:Especially solar cells and carbon fiber windmil (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#46722529)

Geo-Thermal and Ocean Waves are better non-polluting infinite renewable sources of energy.
--
First Contact is coming 2024.

I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722161)

Ask all those leftwingnuts at Harvard how they intend to run the university without electricity.... ...or are they now finally ready to embrace nuclear power?

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722243)

Modded down immediately by a libtard. Amazing how they are so quick to want to quash the opposition yet howl at a thousand decibels when someone returns the favor.

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (3, Insightful)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 7 months ago | (#46722385)

Ask all those leftwingnuts at Harvard how they intend to run the university without electricity.... ...or are they now finally ready to embrace nuclear power?

Because obviously only left leaning folks believe we might have to do something about reducing carbon emissions.

It's fascinating how this issue has been successfully been turned into a partisan one. How is it that I'd have decent odds at guessing someone's position on climate change by asking about their opinion, say, on obamacare, abortion, the second amendment? It seems to me a situation almost unique to the US.

You really could use a couple more parties, because it seems highly unlikely that every individual agrees with one of only two parties in almost every issue. It's almost as if a lot of people don't actually consider their own position, but think of themselves as red or blue and adopt all those opinions wholesale.

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (1, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#46722427)

Let's test that theory. Ask be one question on each of those three topics. Make it a specific 'yes or no' question. I'll provide a 'yes' or 'no' answer, and then you analyze my position on climate change.

I'll let you know how close you are after you post your results. I promise I am being sincere, and will answer honestly.

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722651)

Are taxes too high?

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 7 months ago | (#46722943)

Well, I suppose you wouldn't have asked me that if you didn't consider yourself an exception to this theory. Not sure how well it translates, but we have a dutch saying which has it that "the exception confirms the rule".

I wish there were more of you -- or were you arguing that actually there are a lot more than I had guessed? That would be welcome news to me, but from where I am standing that is not readily apparent.

Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#46723573)

Well, I don't think I would be a complete exception. I'm sure you would be able to guess which end of the AGW believer/disbeliever spectrum I'm closer to. The exception would be the nuances of my own beliefs on the details, and which arguments I think hold the most importance.

As far as how many think my way, yes, I also wish there were more. But there may be more then you think. They may just be avoiding the spotlight. (One can hope.)

Anyway, if you still want to test it, ask the questions. I'm not the only one who would be allowed to answer.

So how many of them are actually qualified (4, Insightful)

Sangui5 (12317) | about 7 months ago | (#46722205)

Not to be cynical..

OK, that's a lie. Cynical mode is *on*.

How many of these 100 faculty (or is it 93?) are actually qualified to have an opinion about this? How many are involved in hard science (physics, chemistry, engineering)? And how many are in fields that deal in arguments and sophistry above all else?

How many of the signers are in fields that would have been duped by the Sokal Affair [wikipedia.org] and how many have done a good job of curating their facts? How many of those 100 are proprietors of horse-caca? You tell me 100 Harvard faculty want to get out of coal/petroleum... which of them do I care about more than if you told me 100 ballet dancers wanted the same?

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (4, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 7 months ago | (#46722241)

Why should you care? This is the faculty of Harvard to the school's administration. It just means more shares on the open market for you to invest in.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723629)

Maybe MIT stopped letting them into wiring closets, and they need another stupid "save the world" plot" to generate another leftist manifesto?

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]
                               

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722279)

What a pretentious load of shit. How do you even get up in the morning, what with the enormous weight of your own head?
 
Yeah, so many Harvard professors are no more qualified than a ballet dancer to comment on whether to invest in fossil fuels. Typical arrogant netizen; most actual scientists can have a civil discussion with other highly educated people and not resort to declaring them morons and sophists. How dare someone who isn't a scientist have an opinion on science policy (or put forth any effort to shape said policy) which will profoundly affect their life and the fate of the entire planet!?
 

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722301)

Yeah, all non-scientists are *not* allowed to have opinions on science-related social and political problems that could either elevate or utterly destroy their lives. Fuck off if you don't have a bachelor's in engineering, at minimum, and let the smart people decide the fate of the planet without you. No, getting a professorship at Harvard doesn't prove you're smart enough to participate! Not if the great Sangui5 can dismiss you out of hand as a possible sophist!

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | about 7 months ago | (#46722443)

I wonder how many of them drive a car, or ride in one, or a bus, etc. I wonder how they heat their homes. I think they should also cut off using fossil fuels. If everyone used wood heat, that is not sustainable. Ever seen an apartment complex without electric power? My fossil fuel use is supplimated by solar. I don't own a large enough plot of land to solar power my transportation requirements, let alone the home energy requirements.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722573)

I wonder how many of them drive a car, or ride in one, or a bus, etc. I wonder how they heat their homes. I think they should also cut off using fossil fuels. If everyone used wood heat, that is not sustainable. Ever seen an apartment complex without electric power? My fossil fuel use is supplimated by solar. I don't own a large enough plot of land to solar power my transportation requirements, let alone the home energy requirements.

I can't believe this comment has a lower score than its parent

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723073)

I can't believe this comment has a lower score than its parent

It's dumb and reveals an author who just doesn't get it. By rights it should have a lower score than yours.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 months ago | (#46723065)

I wonder how many of them drive a car, or ride in one, or a bus, etc. I wonder how they heat their homes.

Well of of them, but how is that in the least bit relevant to protecting your portfolio from the carbon bubble, not is it entirely pertinent to the question of solving AGW.

I don't own a large enough plot of land to ...

Just as well that it isn't down to you personally to cut 80% of global fossil fuel use, isn't it? Nor is it down to any other individual. Nor does the fact that someone drive a car reflect poorly on any individual who advocates for positive change. Silly argument, this isn't going to be solved by the little decisions individuals make, but by a major shift in energy generation.

Divestment is not entirely motivated by purely ethical concerns, but rather by the very real prospect that the fossil fuel intensive stocks are worth less than half what they currently are trading for and that this will become increasingly apparent. The issue here is that major energy companies are vastly overvalued because their assets are largely sunk: as much as 40-60% (estimated by HSBC) of their market capitalisation is in "unburnable carbon." Dump them while there are still folk out there fool enough to buy them is the ethic at play here.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 months ago | (#46723089)

Try again: Well all of them ... nor is it entirely pertinent.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (4, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 7 months ago | (#46722547)

How many of these 100 faculty (or is it 93?) are actually qualified to have an opinion about this?

Conservatives sure are a funny (insane?) bunch nowadays. If you're an actual scientist who is an expert in climate research, and say that climate change is real, that man is causing it, and that it will probably be a bad thing overall then you're just shilling for more of that lucrative research money (and want to destroy America). If you're not a scientist who is an expert in the field, but defer your judgement to those who are experts (of which 97% are in agreement) as most educated people do, then you're not qualified to speak on the matter, so you should just shut up (because you want to destroy America).

Honestly, four or five (or ten?) years ago I might have just thought that you didn't have the facts, but in the year 2014 I just find it weird. Why is reducing how much oil we burn such a bad thing? I don't fucking get it.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46722905)

I don't understand why it needed to be related to climate change at all.

Cities smell. We have nothing but garbage and exhaust fumes everywhere. In places where a lot of diesel is used un-burnt particulates coat the houses leaving black soot everywhere.

Even if you don't care about climate change, or don't care about exhausting resources, why shouldn't we reduce the amount of oil we are burning? Pollution is still pollution.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 7 months ago | (#46723611)

Cities smell. We have nothing but garbage and exhaust fumes everywhere.

In fairness though, we don't all live in New York.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723017)

posting the fake 97% number just shows your stupidity,

look at how the number came to be, it's fucking junk.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#46723109)

Honestly, four or five (or ten?) years ago I might have just thought that you didn't have the facts, but in the year 2014 I just find it weird. Why is reducing how much oil we burn such a bad thing? I don't fucking get it.

I don't think anyone opposes reducing oil consumption (Jon Stewart once had a clip where every single president since Carter said they were going to reduce dependency on foreign oil). What people oppose are things like making transfer payments of more than $80 billion a year to developing countries, which is what the IPCC suggests doing to stop global warming.

Another thing almost everyone seems to like is electric cars. Some people want them to have better mileage, or charge faster, and a lot of people oppose giving tax credits to the people who buy them, but once you get past that almost everyone I know thinks they are a great idea.

Electric cars are half of the solution to cutting CO2 emissions, the other half is switching to nuclear fuel (renewables don't do it because they always come combined with natural gas power plants). A lot of people oppose the actual solution, but that is the most likely way to reduce CO2 emissions, any other plan that is short of that (like transferring money to impoverished countries) probably won't stop emissions enough to make a difference to AGW.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723175)

renewables don't do it because they always come combined with natural gas power plants

Care to explain why you think that solar, tide, hydro, wind would necessarily need to be combined with natural gas plants?

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 7 months ago | (#46723657)

renewables don't do it because they always come combined with natural gas power plants

Care to explain why you think that solar, tide, hydro, wind would necessarily need to be combined with natural gas plants?

Hydro doesn't need to be, but just about every major river that can be dammed already is, and environmentalists aren't really happy about that. Like it or not, hydro isn't really going to replace much more of our fossil-fuel-based power generation.

The rest tend to be inconsistent so unless you have a way to store power (variations on hydro usually), you end up needing fossil-fuels in order to take up the slack. Diversity of sources will probably help, but only so far. You still end up with a ton of idle fossil-fuel plants even in the best case just so that if you get a week of cloudy non-windy weather you don't have blackouts. Nobody likes paying for idle plants, so the pressure is always there to run them and build fewer renewable plants.

The main problem with renewables is that for the most part they're just not ready yet unless you want a significant increase in energy costs. In some situations they're becoming competitive, but I've yet to hear about anybody who has a plan for having them handle baseline load for any significant area.

The big advantage of nuclear is that it works just like coal/etc - you fuel it up and you run it as much as you want to day or night, and you can build one right now. The main downside is that people have a lot of irrational fear about them. There are also what I'd consider legitimate concerns - from an engineering standpoint they certainly can be built/operated safely, but in practice there can be motivation to cut corners.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46723147)

"Conservatives sure are a funny (insane?) bunch nowadays"

The worst part is that they do actually have a few good ideas and positions - but the heavily polarised nature of US politics makes it very difficult to mix elements of the 'conservative package' and 'liberal package.' Doing so just means both sides will oppose you.

"of which 97% are in agreement" - LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723249)

http://www.climatedepot.com/2014/02/05/analysis-debunking-the-alleged-97-consensus-on-global-warming/

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723319)

It really doesn't matter much, whatever you try to do to reduce fossil fuel use. Human greed will see to it that the last drop of oil will eventually be extracted and burned. So all the efforts to reduce CO2 will only slow its rise down, until we run out of oil. Only then will there be an actual substantial CO2 reduction.

So all this effort and all the billions that are spent now are not going to prevent the CO2 maximum that's going to come about. Don't get me wrong, reduction of CO2 production is a good thing. But being realistic, human greed will make the effort moot.

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722559)

How many of these 100 faculty (or is it 93?) are actually qualified to have an opinion about this? How many are involved in hard science (physics, chemistry, engineering)? And how many are in fields that deal in arguments and sophistry above all else?

How many of the signers are in fields that would have been duped by the Sokal Affair [wikipedia.org] and how many have done a good job of curating their facts? How many of those 100 are proprietors of horse-caca? You tell me 100 Harvard faculty want to get out of coal/petroleum... which of them do I care about more than if you told me 100 ballet dancers wanted the same?

Talking of the Sokal affair

http://www.nature.com/news/publishers-withdraw-more-than-120-gibberish-papers-1.14763

The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers. ...

Given the above, would it matter if they were qualified, or perhaps academics being y'know the sort that study shit might have a slightly more informed opinion than ballet dancers?

Not to denigrate ballet dancers intelligence or assume they are stupid, but just that ballet is a physical sport and the mental exertion it involves is very focused on the trade

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722583)

Please. Must we all be climate scientists? or just accept the verdict of 99.8% of them? I didn't design the bicycle I ride. Should I trust it?

Re:So how many of them are actually qualified (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#46723143)

Please. Must we all be climate scientists? or just accept the verdict of 99.8% of them? I didn't design the bicycle I ride. Should I trust it?

99.8% of climate scientists don't have any agreement on what we should do about AGW, or even that we should do anything. See recent studies coming out like this one [ametsoc.org] , which shows much less than 99.8%.

Smoking rope (-1, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 months ago | (#46722223)

They should go back to wearing hemp clothes and smoking rope to stay warm.

Re:Smoking rope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722657)

Yes they should, pity they can't 'cos that's... illegal

Re:Smoking rope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723255)

Um, no. I would much prefer wearing the rope and smoking the hemp. But that's just me.

No way the CONservatives... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722235)

that rule that institution will allow that. They hate minorities and LGBT. They've proven themselves not progressive. Just look at how much they demand in order to be allowed to attend classes. They are a school for the rich, by the rich.

Have you ever even been to Harvard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722269)

Conservatives make up about 0.01% of the faculty, staff and management there. The "liberal elite" own the institution.

Re: Have you ever even been to Harvard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723729)

As to be expected once you take into account that, despite what they claim about tolerance, liberals are very likely to discriminate conservatives [yoelinbar.net] . Liberals use the same strategy that masonry, jews, and mafia: sabotage others and only promote your kind to positions of power and that way your group will keep controlling it. Proven to be the best tactic to stay on top at prisoner's dilemma, too, even though it's known to require sacrifices.

RE: 93 Harvard Faculty Members Call... (0, Troll)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 7 months ago | (#46722239)


93 Harvard faculty call
For 93 faculty to steer
The investments that aren't sound
Cuz they take stuff from the ground
93 Harvard faculty that don't know shit about about how everything in our economy has a huge oil component and divestiture of petro stocks is a stupid idea ta da.

Re: 93 Harvard Faculty Members Call... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#46722461)

Burma Shave!

I assume they dont want to make money (1)

kramerd (1227006) | about 7 months ago | (#46722281)

As supply goes down and demand increases based on population growth...

Re:I assume they dont want to make money (5, Funny)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 7 months ago | (#46722417)

Yeah, then they could just buy another planet after this one craps out

Re:I assume they dont want to make money (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 7 months ago | (#46723497)

The only difference the decision on whether they invest in those stocks or not is who ends up getting the profits. I am sure others that will happily use the profits for far worse causes than Harvard ever would will be happy to take the shares off their hands. The amusing thing here is the divestment of such interests is more than likely to the detriment of the planet rather than to its good. who owns the shares doesn't change fosil fuel usage, it only changes who gets the money.

Typos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722337)

There are at least four fucking typos in this summary.

EDITORS: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU GET PAID FOR?

Re:Typos (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#46722471)

woohoo! i get paid! where's my check?

What does it mean to divest? (3, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 7 months ago | (#46722367)

Well it means that University investments will not go towards fossil fuels, but why were they investing in fossil feuls in the first place?
Oh wait. It must be because fossil fuels were the most lucrative alternative. So invest in the second most lucrative investment. The University will just make less money. It just means their endowment will be smaller. Which just means that their budget will be smaller.
'
Nowadays, Universities don't have many alternatives to compensate for smaller budgets, but they do have one major place they traditionally look to to, tuitions.

Except:

They've proven themselves not progressive. Just look at how much they demand in order to be allowed to attend classes. They are a school for the rich, by the rich.

So really raising tuition is not a good idea.

I know! They can simply cut faculty pay!

I'm so glad that 100 faculty are volunteering to have their pay cut.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722913)

The timeframe for university endowments and the goals of a university is much longer than for an individual retiring in 30 years and dying in 50. You investing in something which will do serious harm in two generations is immoral but won't actually hurt you. A university will still be around.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (4, Insightful)

Sir Holo (531007) | about 7 months ago | (#46723203)

Mark commenter up!

The decisions of established institutions are indeed made based upon time-scales longer than the individual participants' life-spans.

A faculty community willing to back a position that will ultimately bear its fruit after they are dead is to be respected, or at least soberly considered.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#46723703)

Plus it's not their money anyway and god knows where their pension money actually comes from!

"I'm like a bird.
I don't know where my home is.
I don't know where my soul is.
I know my money is from government
And people borrowing hand-over-fist!"

Re:What does it mean to divest? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 7 months ago | (#46723775)

According to this viewpoint every organised religion is to be respected, or at least soberly considered.

I'm not saying they're wrong neccessarily, just that the expected timescale of their ambitions does not add merit or weight to their arguments. Especially if there are tangible social and career benefits to be gained from backing a position today, or from the other direction possible adverse effects should they choose not to sign the petition.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723093)

The University will just make less money

It could be quite the opposite, as there likely is a huge carbon bubble: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26455763

Re:What does it mean to divest? (1)

tulcod (1056476) | about 7 months ago | (#46723329)

Harvard has a sick amount of money, and they *can* afford to miss some of it. If they "lose" money by not investing in oil, they will still be able to fund many students' tuition fees (because Harvard is not /just/ a school for the rich, although arguably you need to be in higher income classes to be admitted in the first place).

If Harvard "loses" money or otherwise does not have the budget they projected, nothing changes.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#46723339)

They are a school for the rich, by the rich.

Which makes me wonder where the "Why is this on Slashdot!?" crowds are. This is about some political posturing by some rich folks, like: "Heidi Klum refuses to wear fur from cute dead animals!". This is TMZ stuff. Rich folks can afford to do some very strange things with their money. What do I care if George Clooney invests in Beanie Babies or Bitcoins, and divests of companies selling sweet, sugary, fattening drinks?

Also, what it the point of divesting in oil companies? They see themselves as "energy" companies anyway. You can bet your hairy ass that Exxon is working on alternative sources of energy income for the time when oil runs out. Those Big Oil folks will find another way to grab us by the balls. We'll be charging our cars at their service stations in the future.

Unfortunately, all these political posing hissy fits seem to drown out the actual science and serious discussion about what to do about climate change. Whenever a climate change topic gets posted to Slashdot, it degenerates into a political baboon shit-slinging festival:

"U R Denier!"

"U R Tree Hugger!"

. . . etc.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (2, Insightful)

SEE (7681) | about 7 months ago | (#46723563)

Which makes me wonder where the "Why is this on Slashdot!?" crowds are.

Now, now. I think it is news that at least 93 members of the Harvard faculty are so ignorant of how the stock market works that they don't notice that any divestment by any party, by necessity, is automatically matched by an equal investment by the counterparties who buy the stock from the divestor.

The problem is the headline, which should read something like, "93 Harvard faculty members admit they're as ignorant of economics as creationists are of biology". Well, and a summary that seems to think it's possible for any divestment campaign to have victories. But, still, the underlying fact 93 Harvard professors are ignorant fools is worth noting.

Re:What does it mean to divest? (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 7 months ago | (#46723643)

> Now, now. I think it is news that at least 93 members of the Harvard faculty are so ignorant of how the stock market works that they don't notice that any divestment by any party, by necessity, is automatically matched by an equal investment by the counterparties who buy the stock from the divestor.

This is outright nonsense. Refusals by large investors, especially if those refusals catch on among other inivestores, affect investment trading and income profoundly. Please review the history of divestment in South Africa for more details, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org] .

for a bunch of smart people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722455)

...they're awfully dumb.

PolySci is everywhere now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722519)

Political Science, Environmental Science, Law, Philosophy, Sociology, English, Drama. These faculties clearly have a better understanding of the social impacts of yukky old stinky old more than some crazy engineer, chemist or physicist. Clearly that oil stuff is so 19th century, and we don't need any of it anymore.

my church (and the national organization) are also (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46722571)

We in the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara have a small endowment, but still, as a matter of principle, are looking to divest. The Unitarian Universalist Association has also adopted a policy of divestment. I find it amusing that some comments are anti-divestment based on questioning the scientific street cred of those in charge, or asking for, divestment. This is why we have climate scientists. Not everyone is a climate scientist. When 99.8% of the scientists are in agreement on a particular issue... 'nuff said.

Re:my church (and the national organization) are a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723055)

no 99.8% is pulled out your ass, the real fake number is 97% and that's bollocks too.

And a "church" basing it's views on science, fucking hilarious, next you'll tell me they don't believe in the SKY FAIRY

I hope they do and watch costs go even higher (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | about 7 months ago | (#46722771)

Sell off the stock that is generating them funds. Have fun explaining why fees are even higher.

Such economic strategy takes a university mind.

Re:I hope they do and watch costs go even higher (2)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 7 months ago | (#46723671)

Harvard has a $32 billion endowment. They're not raising fees anytime soon from a half percent adjustment to their endowment's growth rate. In addition, endowments are specifically meant to be used to perpetually fund aspects of the school, not short term, and thus the professors have a solid point against investing it in an industry that will clearly be unsustainable over the life of the endowment.

Let the ignorant bastards freeze in the dark. (-1, Flamebait)

jcr (53032) | about 7 months ago | (#46723007)

I am just about out of patience with tree-huggers.

-jcr

Re:Let the ignorant bastards freeze in the dark. (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about 7 months ago | (#46723419)

so i guess you are not for new tech, new advances in energy generation etc. the sort of "i'm okay, who gives a fuck about the future" attitude. why not go back to coal power stations only (or older still just burn wood) and get rid of the relatively new petrol, gas, nucleur power. I bet if you were born 100 years ago, you'd be raging against the new tech of that era as well. i think it called being a luddite

Harvard PHD who wishes to remain anonymous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723053)

This has been in the works for years and has been repeatedly derailed by right wing elements not only at Harvard, but at the state and federal level. It is time for this to move forward, because the status quo is unsustainable.

I hate posting as an A.C. but my family has to eat.

No such thing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723233)

...as 'man-made catastrophic global warming', which is why they DISHONESTLY renamed it 'climate change'...

www.climatedepot.com

Aufruf an die Kulturwelt? (1)

Krigl (1025293) | about 7 months ago | (#46723383)

Their letter seems to be missing emphatic denial of war atrocities, but at least they got the number of signatories right [wikipedia.org] .

Over 1600 faculty at Harvard. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723469)

That means only about 6% signed. I'll give them a rousing meh.

Small beer (2, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | about 7 months ago | (#46723593)

That's 100 (or 93) faculty members out of "about 2,400 faculty members."

Another headline could be, "2,307 Harvard Faculty Members Don't Call On the University to Divest From Fossil Fuels."

http://www.harvard.edu/harvard... [harvard.edu]

Less than 4% (1)

swb (14022) | about 7 months ago | (#46723617)

"Fewer than 4% of Harvard faculty call on University to Divest..."

"96% of Harvard faculty oppose divestment from fossil fuels..."

It's amazing how you can shape a story simply through the headline..

I call on the Harvard professors to fight ... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 months ago | (#46723763)

I call on the Harvard professors to fight grade inflation. The most common grade given in Harvard is A minus. A and A minus for 50% of the students, B and B plus for another 50%. Less than 10% get C plus, C, C minus, D plus, D minus and F.

Seriously, Harvard is getting to be overrated. Their admission policies claim to be shooting for all kinds of diversity, racial, ethnic, geographical, socio-economic etc etc. But in reality, American applicants disclose everything, salary, bonus, assets, even unrealized stock options. International applicants produce fake certificates claiming to paupers, and game the system. The Asian Americans, mostly IndianAmericans and ChineseAmericans are such a disadvantage, they need to score 100 to 200 points above other applicants. And after getting in everyone gets As.

And these professors are media celebrities, flying to various international conferences, on their book promotion tours, they hardly have time to talk to students or teach. The professors are unapproachable, intimidating and have a condescending attitude towards the students. I am an Indian American and I know plenty of parents who have sent their children to all the top colleges. In my immediate circle are students in all the top 10 colleges. University of Chicago seems to be the only school left that still strives for academic rigor. Princeton, Yale and Harvard have become jokes when it comes to rigor. Columbia kids complain about the academic load, but still seems to be somewhere in between. Initially students are self motivated and continue to study with the same vigor they displayed in high school. In two semesters it dawns on them, "you don't have to work that hard. Everyone gets A minus or A", so they start going lax, and by the time they are in the final year, they all have jobs, planning on spending the lucrative pay packages, slack off almost completely.

I used to think very highly of these institutions when our kids were in elementary school. Now that they are grown and they are in or have been through these univs, having had a closer look, I am very disappointed. The current set of faculty in Harvard, Yale and Princeton have set the institutes for a big fall. The lack of quality of their grads will become too obvious to conceal in the coming decades.

Re:I call on the Harvard professors to fight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723907)

50% get A's 50% get B's, and there is some one left to get the rest of the grades?

I Call on harvard professors to teach math!

So, logically.... (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about 7 months ago | (#46723785)

Are all these faculty members likewise PERSONALLY *completely* divested from fossil fuels - ie no driving, bus riding, train riding, electricity from oil/coal/natgas sources, etc?

Because otherwise they're pretty much hypocrites.

Unsustainable ivory tower bullshit. (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about 7 months ago | (#46723861)

Unsustainable ivory tower bullshit. You still need base load capability. Where does that come from? They're supposed to be samart over at the school, so why don't they get fusion working?

Not willing to do personal sacrifice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723909)

Why don't they petition to turn OFF the HEAT in the classrooms and offices?
That would save fossil fuel. But that would require real personal commitment.
-- The cost of Harvard tuition has nothing to do with how much money they have. It has to do with how much they can charge.
They may not understand much about economics, but they do understand pushing the price as high as they possibly can.

Wrong approach (0)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 7 months ago | (#46723947)

I can appreciate their sentiment, but as one poster said, are they going to stop using electricity? I think instead of saying 'divest from fossil fuels' which is a showy, noisy position that doesn't really achieve anything, they should take a more positive approach and urge the university to invest in alternatives, or even better urge the university to deploy solar technologies or something to be less dependent on fossil fuels for power.

Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46723961)

...how all these people calling for the divestiture still drive cars that use fossil fuel....still buy things made of plastics that are made from oil....still buy other things that are derivatives of fossil fuels....

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