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viewpoint

Inaugurate the resistance

| Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dear Fr. Jenkins,

In light of the new presidential administration, our future is in more peril than ever. The interests of fossil fuel companies are now being represented by the secretary of state, the leaders of both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy, and the president, who continue to cast doubt on the need to act on climate change. As students, we are concerned by the idle stance of our University, which maintains investments in these companies even as they threaten humanity’s future.

The University of Notre Dame, as a premier Catholic institution and moral leader, holds great influence over fellow universities, the Catholic community and people across the world who know and love Notre Dame. We have shown the extent of support for divestment on this campus through marches, rallies and petitions. We are gathered today to ask you, by Feb. 1, 2017, to make a formal statement about the future of our endowment’s fossil fuel investments. We are asking Notre Dame to stand with its students, the environment and our collective future by committing to divestment instead of standing with the denial in Washington.

If it is wrong for fossil fuel companies to wreck the climate, then it is wrong for Notre Dame to profit from that wreckage.

If divestment is political, then investment is also political. By continuing to financially support the fossil fuel industry, Notre Dame is standing with them, not our collective future.

Stand with us as we fight for justice and the preservation of our planet. Stand with us as we fight for what’s right.

Kayla Sperbeck

junior

Adam Wiechman

sophomore

Cam Hart

senior

Jan. 31

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • Punta Venyage

    A shift toward lower marginal cost, cleaner energy is important. Make sure you understand the full picture so as not to take an unrealistically extreme view.
    The current supply of renewable energy (you can measure the electricity in MWh, or measure the installed capacity in MW) is not enough to meet our electricity demand, which is primarily driven by us using air conditioning (heating and cooling) and manufacturing companies that produce goods we value. Until renewables grow to a more reliable level, we have to continue replacing the old fossil fuel power plants with new fossil plants in order to ensure grid reliability (in other words, to make sure your power doesn’t go out because there isn’t enough electricity to go around).

    If you want to support the cause on a micro level, turn off your air-conditioning unit, especially during the peak cold winter season and the peak heat summer season, as those are the periods with the highest demand for electricity.
    In other words, the supply of renewables is increasing, but it is nowhere near high enough to meet peak, average, or even minimum levels of daily electricity demand (and this will be the case for the foreseeable future, even with active renewable subsidies). So do your part and turn off your AC completely (never use it) thereby reducing demand, before continuing your activism.