I am quite surprised that the climate activists behind Divest Princeton were pleased with the measures that the University has taken to drop fossil fuels. Your cover stated, “Dropping Fossil Fuels,” but the dissociation is far from dropping fossil fuels. This seems like a half measure that doesn’t achieve any of the change that the activists are seeking. If the University was serious about divesting from these companies and ultimately dropping fossil fuels, it could ensure that no energy or byproducts that ExxonMobil and the other 89 companies on the blacklist have produced make their way onto campus. That includes the natural gas that provides electricity, gasoline and diesel used in motor vehicles, and the rubber and plastics used throughout campus. Additionally, it could stop accepting Annual Giving money from alumni that work for these companies or have investments in these companies. It could engage with the government of Canada to understand why it legally allows tar sand development, and until Canada outlaws this development it could cut ties with any company that has operations in Canada. Finally, the University could also cut ties with China since it stubbornly continues to be the world’s worst polluter. No more research money from China or Chinese companies. No more investments in companies with ties to China.

If Princeton truly wants to drop fossil fuels it has a lot more work to do. So why doesn’t the University do more? It’s because life without fossil fuels is much worse than life with them. Fossil fuels have allowed human flourishing and the high standard of living that Princeton’s students, activists, professors, and trustees enjoy. Instead of pandering to the activists, the University should own up to the to the fact that in order to have a high standard of living the University must use fossil fuels. 

Brandon Rogers ’06
Spring, Texas