September 13, 2013

Sydney Divestment Forum

This is an emergency situation and we need to be on a war footing if we are going to seriously tackle the issue of climate change.

 This was the sobering message from Ian Dunlop as he kicked off 350′s divestment forum in Sydney earlier this week. A panel of five diverse and experienced speakers gathered to address the role of divestment as an effective tool to Mr Dunlop was joined on the panel by Simon O’Connor (CEO of Responsible Investment Association of Australasia), Trevor Thomas (CEO of Ethinvest), Justin Whelan (Uniting Church) and Sharyn Munroe (author of ‘Richland, Wasteland’).  
The turnout to the event was impressive with a wide range of people, from suits to dreadlocks, older and younger, showing that the desire to address climate change broaches all genders, ages and socio-economic backgrounds.  All were keen to hear how they might use the tool of divestment to help ignite the impetus for some serious action in tackling climate forum 4

I won’t give you a blow by blow account of the evening as you can watch it all here.  You can also read a great account of the evening at Renew Economy.
 But the overall take home message was:-

  • not only is the temperature rising but the severity of the consequences and the challenges society will face in coping with climate change are much greater than most people believe, and certainly greater than any government body is letting on.
  • Government policy and industry initiatives are not doing enough to head off calamity
  • Investors around the globe are starting to wake up to the fact that climate change is going to be a big deal and that fossil fuels might not be a very safe bet after all, we need to harness this awakening
  • If governments and industry are not going to do anything about this, we have to.  Divestment is a great tool that can help to accelerate the process and force change in policy and business attitudes towards the climate issue

The Sydney forum was the first in a series of events that will be held across the country in the coming month.  Come and join us at a venue near you.

Hobart – 18th September, 6-7:30pm at the  Medical Sciences Precinct (corner of Liverpool and Campbell Sts)

Speakers: Paul Gilding, Stuart Barry (Tas Ethical financial adviser), Naomi Edwards (Chair of Tasplan), Frank Nicklason (physician at the Royal Hobart Hospital)Canberra – 24th September
Brisbane – 17 October
Perth – 17th October
Melbourne – 17th October