To the Nobel Foundation:

We, scientists and Nobel laureates from around the world, are writing to request that the Nobel Foundation take further action on climate change by ending its investments in fossil fuels.

In his will, Alfred Nobel wrote that prizes should be awarded to those who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit to [hu]mankind“. As scientists and laureates embracing Alfred Nobel’s final words, it is our expectation that the Nobel Foundation also act in the interest of humankind which includes caring for the health of the planet which we all rely upon.

The Nobel Foundation has played a historic role in the struggle against climate change by recognising people who have highlighted and studied humankind’s impact on the climate. Today, in this time of urgent need, as we face a warming planet and strive to implement the Paris Agreement, we ask you to do more. Our educational and cultural institutions must do more than educate, they must be an example of a new pathway forward, free from the industries that have caused the most damage to our climate.

More than 600 institutions with total assets of more than $3.4 trillion, have committed to divest from fossil fuels, taking a clear stance against the main drivers of climate change. This includes over 100 foundations and major cities such as Stockholm, Paris, Copenhagen, Washington DC and Berlin. Eminent educational institutions and academies such as the California and Australian Academies of Science and Phipps Conservatory, and universities such as Stockholm, Stanford, and Yale – which have provided numerous laureates – have also made divestment commitments. Faith organisations numbering in the hundreds have cut their financial ties to fossil fuel companies. It is time for the Nobel Foundation to join these ranks.

We believe that the Nobel Foundation – for all that it represents – the good and creativity of humanity – should not profit from the destruction of our planet’s climate.

We call on the Nobel Foundation to fully align its investments with its principles and mission by:

  1. Immediately stopping any new investments in companies who derive more than 5% of their revenue from coal, oil and gas

  2. Dropping coal, oil and gas from its investment portfolio by divesting from these fossil fuel companies within five years, and

  3. Publicly communicating the foundation’s commitment and regularly reporting on implementation of its progress.

  4. Committing to and prioritising reinvesting the majority of its portfolio into climate solutions that support renewable energy, clean energy access and energy efficiency, and community adaptation and resiliency.

We believe that the Nobel Foundation can influence not only others to divest, but also inspire our world leaders and our fellow citizens to act more swiftly to address climate change. The time could not be more urgent.



Paul Josef Crutzen, Netherlands, Chemistry 1995

Shirin Ebadi, Iran, Peace 2003

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina, Peace 1980

Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, Peace 2011

Tawakkol Karman, Yemen, Peace 2011

Mairead Maguire, UK/Northern Ireland, Peace 1976

John Polanyi, Canada, Chemistry 1986

Thomas A. Steitz, USA, Chemistry 2009

John Sulston, UK, Physiology or Medicine 2002

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Peace 1984

Harold Varmus, USA, Physiology or Medicine, 1989

John Walker, UK, Chemistry, 1997

Jody Williams, USA, Peace 1997

David Wineland, USA, Physics 2012

American Friends Service Committee, USA, Peace 1947

Friends Service Council, UK, Peace 1947

International Peace Bureau, Switzerland, Peace 1910

Tunisian Order of Lawyers, Tunisia, Peace 2015

Sir Fraser Stoddart, UK, Chemistry 2016

Professor Joachim Frank, Germany, Chemistry 2017

Jason Box, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007

Graciela Chichilnisky, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007

Jean Jouzel, France, former co-chair of IPCC working group 1 (2002-2015) and contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007

Michael Mann, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007

Valérie Masson-Delmotte, France, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007


Last updated. December 2017