If you're a health or medical student please support the call by signing this letter, which we'll send following Global Divestment Week and ahead of this year's Annual Representatives Meeting in June.___________________________________________________________________________________________
Dear Keith Ward, CEO at the BMA
In 2014 the British Medical Association (BMA) made reference to divestment as part of a resolution on climate change. Since then, investors worldwide with assets exceeding $5 trillion have committed to divest fossil fuels. In light of the overwhelming evidence of the health impacts of fossil fuels, we call on the BMA to uphold their fiduciary duty and divest from fossil fuels.
It goes against Medsin’s values, objectives and responsibilities to condone investments in the fossil fuel industry, given the industries role in creating the “greatest global health threat of the 21st century” and its contribution to several million deaths worldwide from air pollution each year. (Outlined in our 2014 Policy Statement on Ending Fossil Fuel Investments to Protect Health and Tackle Climate Change)
Unmitigated climate change threatens to undermine our health, environment and global security. Under the UK’s Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement, the UK is committed to limiting warming to well below 2C and to aim for no more than 1.5C. This requires leaving the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves unburnt, creating the real possibility of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded – with profound implications for the global economy.
In November 2016 the UN Environment Programme stated that the window on 1.5C global warming will close within three years, highlighting the urgency of the need to transition to clean energy. We believe that fossil fuel divestment is potentially one of the most effective means available to the organisation to accelerate the energy transition.
We agree with the view of the World Medical Association that health organisations have a moral responsibility not to invest in the industry that is driving climate change, and that just as health professionals divested tobacco companies because they compromised our professional values, we should now divest fossil fuels. Moreover, we believe as students advocating for Global Health we have a responsibility to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own investments.