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In open letter, activists urge MIT to shed fossil fuel investments

Prominent activists, including actor Mark Ruffalo and MIT professors Noam Chomsky and Junot Díaz, have signed an open letter calling on MIT to divest its fossil fuel holdings.

The letter, released Wednesday and also signed by prominent scientists, comes after a committee convened last year by MIT President L. Rafael Reif recommended that the university divest its $12.4 billion endowment from coal and tar sands companies.

Advocates also called for the university to divest from corporations that deny climate change.

“MIT has a unique obligation to stand up for science by also divesting from those who undermine the principles of scientific inquiry and thereby threaten MIT’s own integrity,” the letter says.


Other signatories include Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental activist group, Columbia University climatologist James Hansen, and MIT graduate and Zipcar founder Robin Chase.

Reif is expected to announce this fall how the university intends to address climate change.

The letter is the latest call for MIT to divest.

A petition signed by 3,400 MIT students and staff, and letters from 83 faculty and 29 student groups have urged the school to take the step and other actions to help stem climate change. A Cambridge City Council resolution also backed the MIT committee’s recommendation to divest.

Laura Krantz can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.