I was disappointed to read President Eisgruber’s message regarding Princeton’s response to the climate crisis (President’s Page, May issue). Having been active in the climate justice movement since graduating, the president’s reluctant support for partial fossil-fuel divestment and his touting of the “Net Zero America” study as “groundbreaking” are simply embarrassing. That study was funded by Exxon and BP, which have given millions of dollars to Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and High Meadows Environmental Institute, and is being used to justify continued extraction of fossil fuels through a massive build-out of carbon capture and storage infrastructure that will do nothing to prevent a 1.5º C overshoot and will undoubtedly increase the negative cumulative impacts on low-income and BIPOC communities. At a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has essentially urged an end to the use of fossil fuels, neither Exxon nor BP have plans to stop their fossil-fuel expansion, nor take responsibility for their climate-destructive activities.
Princeton’s continued investments in and association with some of the most irresponsible fossil-fuel companies on the planet is sending the wrong message to its students and to society at large. Princeton has a responsibility to ensure its endowment is invested prudently, with a long-term time horizon and in consideration of the institution’s charitable purposes. If Princeton is genuinely committed to its students’ futures and being “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity,” fossil-fuel divestment should not even be a question. Princeton should be a true climate leader and stop greenwashing the fossil-fuel industry. I encourage alumni to learn more at divestprinceton.com.