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The movement to be “politically correct” among college endowments and other funds has included a push to divest of assets in industries that extract, refine or distribute fossil fuels. A bright student at American University named Julia Morriss penned this opinion piece on divestment in the university’s student newspaper. She says:

As you read this on your iPhone, eat an organic avocado grown in California and buy a plane ticket home for winter break, I urge you to think about what a world without fossil fuel use would mean. Energy is embedded in virtually everything we do and consume, from life-saving drugs to our clothing. …This would be a different story if a viable option to fossil fuels existed that could handle all the world’s needs. But sadly we are not there yet.

And this isn’t just about getting to keep your iPhone. Lower-income households spend almost a quarter of their income on energy. Cutting out fossil fuels would cause energy prices to soar, punishing the poor the most.

Harvard’s President sensibly voiced his opposition to fossil fuel divestment in a recent statement. Here is a well-articulated condemnation of the divestment movement from Benjamin Zycher entitled “The Breathless Hypocrisy Driving Energy ‘Divestment’“. He says this:

So if investment in fossil-fuel sectors engenders some sort of moral quandary, does the same principle apply to investment in industries that use energy? After all, they are responsible for the very existence of the energy producers; will the divestment campaign expand to agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, retailing, the household sector, and all the rest?

Read the whole thing, as they say.