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Cambridge University To Defy Green Activists On Shunning Fossil Fuels

Financial Times

Cambridge university is planning to reject divesting its £6.3bn endowment fund from oil companies despite huge pressure from students and staff to shun fossil fuels, according to a document seen by the Financial Times.

The draft paper, written by a working group created to consider divestment, says the university should avoid the most polluting industries such as tar sands and coal in line with its current policy. But it does not explicitly recommend pulling out of all fossil fuels, in a blow to campaigners at the university.

Cambridge has repeatedly clashed with academics and students over divestment, partially because of concerns that research funding could be hit as several oil companies — including BP, ExxonMobil and Shell — have donated money to the university. The endowment is the largest outside the US.

A spokesperson for the university said the report was still a draft and “recommendations are being clarified and strengthened with every meeting of the group”. She added that the report was updated on Friday, but declined to comment on whether it included any changes on divestment.

“The working group is trying to find a serious path for the university’s investment to help take us to a carbon neutral future,” she said.

In response to the news that the endowment was unlikely to restrict all fossil fuel investments, Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, a student and staff campaign group, warned it planned to create “large-scale disruption” where hundreds of students would march on the university offices.

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