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Boston City Council Says no to fossil fuel investments


It takes a millennia for decomposing plants and other organisms to create the carbon-rich fossil fuels that we widely use, yet only a few years for it to lead to vast environmental degradation. In an effort to combat climate change, Boston's newly elected mayor Michelle Wu signed an ordinance in late November to divest $65 million in city investments from companies that profit off fossil fuels. 

The U.S. has had a long history with fossil fuels. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, have been known to make up at least 80% of total U.S. energy consumption since 1900. Fossil fuels provide electricity, heat, and transportation, while also feeding the process that makes a huge range of products like steel and plastics. 

Globally, countries have begun to see the detrimental impacts greenhouse gas emissions released from fossil fuels have on the environment. Governments are now focused on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in hopes of finding an alternative to the negative impacts that occur from burning fossil fuels. It is hard to compare fossil fuels to green energy due to fossil fuels being subsidized by the government globally. However, the current investment in green energy industries is showing to be more profitable than fossil fuels. Previous successful divestment campaigns have been documented in Maine, New York State, and Quebec. Bill Mckibben, a leader of the divestment movement, believes it is only a matter of time before Massachuset’s state pension fund also begins to shift away from fossil fuels. 

These fossil fuel divestment efforts had originally been seen in Somerville in 2014 where after several efforts, they succeeded in creating a local option bill. The local option bill allows the municipal or county retirement system to choose if they want to divest from fossil fuels. The push for local option legislation goes on to show the push for change in cleaner energy. Global action is moving towards a greener future. To learn more about the benefits of clean energy, take a listen to Science Weekly’s podcast: “Why we should leave fossil fuels in the ground”.



Citations

1) “Boston City Council says no to fossil fuel investment” Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/11/17/metro/council-says-no-fossil-fuel-investments

2) “Fossil fuels”EIA, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=2191

3) “The Sources and Solutions: Fossil Fuels” EPA, https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/sources-and-solutions-fossil-fuels

4) “Why we should leave fossil fuels in the ground” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2014/apr/21/podcast-science-weekly-fossil-fuels-climate-change



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