Gov. Jerry Brown, who is a regent in the University of California system, is jumping on the anti-coal bandwagon, saying last Thursday that the UC system should consider joining Stanford University and divest its endowment from any ties to the coal industry.
Brown said he would consider “some targeted disinvestment” that would hit the coal industry but leave other fossil fuel industries alone, saying, “There could be something there.” Stanford’s trustees have already voted to sell off their stakes in companies that make their living from coal extraction, but declined to divest from oil and natural gas stocks.
The UC system has a $7.7 billion general endowment fund. Regents said they want data about the consequences of divesting from coal by July, and then they might divest by the fall. $39 million of the central UC endowment is presently placed in stocks of 67 of the 200 largest fossil fuel reserve firms.
Student activists, who have been pressuring the UC system to divest from coal, are delighted, but not satisfied. Ophir Bruck, from UC Berkeley, who helped found the Fossil Free UC group, said coal divestment is “something we would be definitely be excited about and celebrate,” but still wants the UC system to divest from all fossil fuels. 60 members from Fossil Free UC demonstrated outside a meeting held by the regents last Wednesday.
In April, Pitzer College voted to divest from fossil fuel stocks, the first college in California to do so. San Francisco State and two community college districts in Northern California thinking of following suit.