How to fix the movement for fossil fuel divestment

Bankers and environmentalists alike are increasingly calling for capital markets to play a bigger role in the war on carbon. In the absence of a meaningful global price on carbon, however, capital continues to flow freely toward fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries. The movement for fossil fuel divestment has been trying since 2012 to reverse this trend. A strong media presence and divestment pledges from high-profile investors notwithstanding, the movement has had little, if any, impact on the market valuation or bottom line of fossil fuel companies to date. A recent Nature Climate Change comment by Felix Mormann, a professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, reveals a number of critical shortcomings that prevent the movement from achieving its stated goals of delegitimizing the fossil fuel industry and reducing its access to capital.

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