Franklin Environmental Center, The Orchard-Hillcrest 103
531 College Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
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Open to the Public

Targeting Big Polluters: Understanding Activism against the Fossil Fuel Industry
Johannes Urpelainen, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

For centuries, fossil fuels have played a central role in human development and the growth of the industrial society. Coal, oil, and natural gas have fueled the world economy, enabling rapid industrialization. However, fossil fuels carry a high environmental cost. In less than a decade, activism against the fossil fuel industry has exploded both in the United States and elsewhere. While environmentalists used to focus on legislative goals, such as carbon emissions trading or renewable energy policies, today the most prominent activists directly attack the fossil fuel industry. Activists blame climate change on 200 “carbon majors” – global behemoths that extract and sell fossil fuels for profit – and campaign to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry. Campaigners demand a rejection of pipeline projects, such as Keystone XL, and promote divestment of institutional endowments from fossil fuels. Why has activism against the fossil fuel industry grown so fast? What drives this abrupt shift in climate activism? In this book talk, I offer a comprehensive history, evaluation, and outlook on activism against fossil fuels

Sponsored by:
Environmental Studies

Contact Organizer

Hunt, Lily