A divided University of California task force could not reach agreement on whether to divest from fossil fuels and has asked staff of the Regents Committee on Investments to make a final decision, sources said.
The majority of the task force opposed fossil-fuel divestment, feeling that such a ban would not meaningfully affect climate change, according to a task force report posted on the Oakland-based university's website. But the language was later changed at a meeting on Tuesday to indicate that no position would be taken on fossil-fuel divesture, sources say. The change followed a compromise between members of the committee against a fossil-fuel divesture and those in favor of it.
Instead, the 11-member task force, made up of students, faculty and board of regents members, is recommending that the Board of Regents Committee on Investments make a decision on the issue.
The committee is scheduled to meet on Friday, but sources say a likely scenario is that the committee will push back any decision on the controversial issue to an unknown date in the future.
The task force report does call for the university to invest $1 billion over a five-year period in “solutions-oriented investments,” such as renewable power and fuels, energy efficiency and/or sustainable food and agriculture.
It also calls for environmental, social and governance factors to be considered when making investments. It is expected that the committee on investments will consider those proposals at its Friday meeting.
Any decisions by the Committee on Investments are just recommendations that would have to be approved by the full university Board of Regents.
The task force was formed on June 16 after a coalition of student groups had pushed for the university to enact a ban on fossil-fuel investments.
Other major universities have rejected such a ban, but Stanford University is divesting from coal investments and several universities and foundations and endowments have banned fossil-fuel investments in recent months.
The university oversees $91 billion in investments through its endowment, defined benefit plan and a liquidity pool.