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Cambridge University announces moratorium on certain donations following student campaign: 'Taken action to demonstrate leadership'

"The university has recognized the urgency of the climate emergency."

"The university has recognized the urgency of the climate emergency."

Photo Credit: iStock

After a successful campaign by student activists and academics, Cambridge University has announced a temporary moratorium on new donations from dirty energy companies, Phys.org reported.

The decision follows recommendations made by United Nations climate change envoy Nigel Topping in a report last year.

"The university has recognized the urgency of the climate emergency and taken action to demonstrate leadership," Topping wrote, citing the university's "decisions to divest from fossil fuels in the endowment, commit to science-based targets, [and] launch Cambridge Zero."

Now, the university has gone even further, as it will no longer accept donations from companies like Shell and BP that profit from the destruction of the environment. The two companies gave at least £19.7 million ($24.6 million) to the university in philanthropic and research funding between 2016 and 2023.

However, those calling for the moratorium have argued that the efficacy of that research is hampered by its ties to the dirty energy giants, which are mainly interested in maintaining profits and diverting attention away from the need to cut planet-overheating pollution.

Shell CEO Wael Sawan recently drew the ire of climate activists when he was quoted as saying that it would be "dangerous and irresponsible" to reduce oil and gas drilling.

What is actually dangerous and irresponsible, according to just about every expert who doesn't have a financial stake in dirty energy companies, is drilling for oil and then burning that oil for energy. This practice has caused widespread environmental degradation and air pollution while contributing to the overheating of our planet.

"Accepting funding from fossil fuel companies validates the industry at a time when it is threatening the future viability of life on earth, including by developing new oil and gas infrastructure," said Jason Scott-Warren, a Cambridge professor who supported the moratorium.

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