Nobel prizes should be awarded to those who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit to [hu]mankind”

Alfred Nobel in his final will

Citing the urgency of climate change, Nobel Prize winners and scientists have issued a letter calling on the Nobel Foundation to divest its $420 million endowment from fossil fuels. The letter coincides with the celebration of Nobel Days and the annual prize ceremonies.

The call from laureates and climate scientists cites the original intent of the Foundation – an organisational mission to recognize all that is good and innovative about humankind – to make the argument that the foundation cut ties with destructive fossil fuel companies.

Among the 14 laureates that signed the letter are atmospheric chemist Paul Josef Crutzen, physicist David Wineland and biologist Sir John Sulston, and several winners of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize including Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, Yemeni women’s rights campaigner Tawakkol Karman and Argentinian human rights and peace activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. The letter has also been signed by eminent scientific contributors to the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  View the letter and a full list of signatories here.

It’s hard to argue with Nobel Laureates who have made such incredible scientific discoveries, advanced human rights and helped foster peace and ends to major regional conflicts.

The laureates and scientists called on the Foundation to lead and set an example for the world, writing:

“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.”

Activists in Sweden, part of the Divest Nobel campaign, have already taken action by highlighting the links between the foundation’s investments and fossil fuel companies. Now with laureates and scientists joining the call, they hope the Foundation will be forced to listen — and act.

Divest Nobel serve up oil and coal to Nobel nominees in Stockholm, November 2016

More than 600 institutions, foundations, universities and pension funds are already leading by committing to divest from destructive fossil fuel companies.  Tell Nobel to join them and act on the message from laureates and scientists by adding your own name. Sign the petition.

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