Divestment and “The Toronto Principle”

An article in The Harvard Crimson focused on the recent report of the president’s divestment committee at U of T:

Last December, a committee at the University of Toronto released a report on the issue of divestment, drawing a clear line by aligning itself with the needs of the Paris agreement. It recommended that the university not finance companies whose “actions blatantly disregard the international effort to limit the rise in average global temperatures to not more than one and a half degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages by 2050…These are fossil fuels companies whose actions are irreconcilable with achieving internationally agreed goals.”

Hopefully, this principle will be re-affirmed when President Gertler makes the final decision. We expect that at the end of March.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

5 thoughts on “Divestment and “The Toronto Principle””

  1. The advisory committee’s recommendation to align the university’s efforts with the Paris Agreement has been dubbed the “Toronto Principle” by Benjamin Franta in the Harvard Crimson. Franta praises the committee’s recommendation and suggests that the principle should be adopted by other institutions to “give life to the Paris agreement,” and cease actions that are against the agreement. The Toronto Principle, Franta continues, would put pressure on companies to adhere to the agreement, especially if leading institutions such as Harvard University have used their status and power to respond to climate change through divestment.


  2. Western oil companies have struggled through the crisis with a new cross to bear as concerns about global warming become mainstream. In America the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York attorney-general’s office are investigating ExxonMobil, the world’s largest private oil company, over whether it has fully disclosed the risks that measures to mitigate climate change could pose to its vast reserves. Shareholders in both America and Europe are putting tremendous pressure on oil companies to explain how they would manage their businesses if climate-change regulation forced the world to wean itself off oil. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has given warning that the energy transition could put severe strains on financial stability, and that up to 80% of fossil-fuel reserves could be stranded. The oil industry’s rallying cry, “Drill, baby, drill!” now meets a shrill response: “Keep it in the ground!”

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