Here’s a powerful post and graphic from our friend Beth Sawin at Climate Interactive:

Carbon Dioxide Will Persist in the Atmosphere Long After Current Decision Makers Have Left Their Roles: On Ethical Grounds, Young People Should Have a Say

Even if today’s college students live to be 100 years old, more than half of the CO2 released into the atmosphere during the four years they are in college will still be present there at the end of their lives – warming the planet and contributing to extreme events, like droughts, floods, and storms all the while – long after the decision makers behind those investment choices will have left office. The college students across the US who are arguing that their education should not be funded by actions that diminish the health of the world in which their future will unfold have a strong case, supported by the basic physics of the climate.

The New York Times has a front page article about the growing number of student-led campaigns at colleges and universities across the US calling on board’s of trustees to divest of investments in fossil energy companies. According to the article, some college administrations are listening to the students and taking steps to eliminate fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios. Others are, so far, not agreeing with the link the students are making: that fossil fuel investment undermines the very future colleges and universities seek to prepare young people for.

As students around the US find their voice and begin to insist that their generation’s stake in the long-term future be taken into account in investment decisions at educational institutions, we, as we like to do on timely issues at Climate Interactive, ran the numbers, asking a simple question:

Just how long will the fossil fuel related decisions made by college Presidents and Board of Trustees today continue to impact the lives of current students?

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