Fossil Free UCLU occupy main quad pavilion

They’re calling for an end to all UCL investment in fossil fuels


Angry lefties from UCLU’s anti-fossil fuel pressure group have been occupying the main quad pavilion since late last night.

Fossil Free UCLU have been protesting since 9pm on Tuesday evening, which has so far included a Skype session with COP21 activists based in Paris, a workshop on running effective radical campaigns and decorating a “divestment tree”.

The group is also holding a screening of the documentary Ecocide which is about the 2010 BP oil spill, and an evening of climate themed music and spoken word.

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Fossil Free UCL last night

Criticising the “stone wall” and the past three years the University has spent “making excuses”, Fossil Free UCL have said the aim of today’s occupation is “to demand UCL fulfil its responsibility to the future of its students, society and the planet by breaking all links with the fossil fuel industry.

“UCL is a powerful, society-shaping institution. It demands exorbitant tuition fees from students and uses that money to fund the destruction of their futures.

“As a wealthy public body, UCL is uniquely positioned to take immediate, ambitious action to end colonialism, to fight climate change and to welcome refugees.

“Ditching investments in companies dedicated to exploring for, extracting and burning fossil fuels would be a vital first step. In the face of this responsibility, UCL’s wilful silence on this issue speaks volumes.”

UCL’s investments in the fossil fuel industry – estimated to be around £14.4m circa 2014 – have been a topic of contention among the student and staff body, and this is not the first time they have lead to direct action.

In 2010, over 100 UCL academics signed an open letter calling for divestment, which was delivered to the then provost, Sir Malcolm Grant.

Last year UCL Fossil Free staged a “die in” on Tottenham Court Road, where 70 students lay down and blocked the entrance to a UCL building.

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The pavilion last night, complete with Divestmas tree

Fossil Free UCL added: “Companies extract fossil fuels with no regard for the lives of indigenous peoples. After centuries of colonial oppression, many regions find themselves stripped of the resources they need to survive in their struggle to weather the effects climate change.

“They have an urgent duty to end their carbon emissions, and curtail the effects of the one degree of global warming that has already proved so deadly – providing welcome, refuge and reparations to climate migrants.”

UCL has yet to comment on today’s occupation, but Tom Robinson, UCLU Welfare and International Officer has tweeted about the situation, suggesting students have a look at Fossil Free’s plans for today, and several organisations such as 350.org have tweeted their solidarity.