Stanford Sanity

Stanford University is a bastion of liberalism, which used to mean open-minded and tolerant when I studied there and graduated cum laude.  Having seen little rationality from there concerning climate change, I was pleased to hear about this:

“It is not clear that the social injury caused by oil and gas companies outweighs the social benefit of providing energy to billions of people around the world.” Stanford University Board of Trustees

The full statement is here. It provides extensive evidence of how committed they are to sustainability and other green values. Their consideration of energy investments is far from simple-minded:

As trustees, we are convinced that the global community must develop effective alternatives to fossil fuels at sufficient scale, so that fossil fuels will not continue to be extracted and used at the present rate. Stanford is deeply engaged in finding alternatives through its research. However, despite the progress being made, at the present moment oil and gas remain integral components of the global economy, essential to the daily lives of billions of people in both developed and emerging economies. Moreover, some oil and gas companies are themselves working to advance alternative energy sources and develop other solutions to climate change. The complexity of this picture does not allow us to conclude that the conditions for divestment outlined in the Statement on Investment Responsibility have been met.

We believe the long-term solution is for all of us to reduce our consumption of fossil fuel resources and develop effective alternatives. Because achieving these goals will take time, and given how integral oil and gas are to the global economy, the trustees do not believe that a credible case can be made for divesting from the fossil fuel industry until there are competitive and readily available alternatives. Stanford will remain a leader in developing such alternatives.

As an alumnus, I applaud their reasonable and considered position to not divest of oil and gas holdings. They are doing due diligence carefully weighing benefits along with risks, all the while knowing they will be attacked by green bigots no matter what they say.

Stanford Climate Activists Slam University Over Fossil Fuel Vote New York Times

Definition Bigot: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Denying other people the same rights that you claim for yourself is the essence of bigotry. People who call themselves environmentalists could more accurately be called green bigots.

Selfishness is never a pretty thing but it is at its ugliest when it masquerades as some kind of lofty nobility. That pose not only gets the green bigots good press, it also helps recruit the young and uninformed to their movement — especially the young who have been misinformed on college and university campuses.  Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow of the The Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of Wealth, Poverty and Politics, An International Perspective


Other universities are also rejecting green bigotry.  From Bloomberg:

Fossil-fuel divestment has been a popular issue in recent years among college students, who have protested at campuses around the country. Yet even with the movement spreading to more than 1,000 campuses, only a few dozen schools have placed some restrictions on their commitments to the energy sector. Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are among the largest endowments to reject demands to divest.


  1. craigm350 · April 27, 2016

    Reblogged this on CraigM350.


  2. manicbeancounter · May 16, 2016

    I was not aware of this Thomas Sowell quote, but it follows from his book “The Vision of the Anointed: Self Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy”.
    Published in 1995 the examples are a bit dated and American.

    The Amazon Summary states
    “Sowell sees what has happened during that time not as a series of isolated mistakes but as a logical consequence of a tainted vision whose defects have led to crises in education, crime, and family dynamics, and to other social pathologies. In this book, he describes how elites–the anointed–have replaced facts and rational thinking with rhetorical assertions, thereby altering the course of our social policy.”


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