Prize winners argue climate-destroying investments conflict with Alfred Nobel’s will
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Nobel prize winners and scientists urge the Nobel Foundation to divest its $420 million endowment from fossil fuels in a letter released today, ahead of the Nobel Prize 2016 ceremonies this Saturday. They argue that the institution ‘should not profit from the destruction of our planet’s climate’.
Among the 14 laureates that signed the letter are renowned scientists such as 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). 
“In his will, Alfred Nobel wrote that prizes should be awarded to those who ‘shall have conferred the greatest benefit to [hu]mankind’. As laureates and scientists 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 letter states.
Stockholm-based grassroots group Divest Nobel who initiated the call on the Nobel Foundation to cut its ties to the fossil fuel industry is organising events around this year’s Nobel prize award ceremonies in Stockholm on Saturday to keep up the pressure.
The letter comes less than one week ahead of the Divest-Invest Network releasing the third annual report on the state of the divestment movement. The report assesses the growth and impact of the movement over the past year, highlighting new divestment commitments and revealing the latest figures of commitments and divested assets under management. 
To date, over 600 institutions have committed to stop investments in fossil fuel companies. Among them are cities such as Oslo, Paris, Berlin, Seattle and Melbourne, educational institutions and academies including more than a quarter of all universities in the UK, the Australian and California Academies of Science, hundreds of faith institutions and foundations. The aim of the divestment campaign Fossil Free is to weaken the fossil fuel industry’s political influence by eroding public acceptance of the main drivers of climate change.
Contact: Melanie Mattauch, [email protected], +49151 5812 0184 (in Berlin)
Notes to editors:
 Signatories on the letter to the Nobel Foundation:
- Paul Josef Crutzen, Netherlands, Chemistry 1995
- Shirin Ebadi, Iran, Peace 2003
- Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina, Peace 1980
- Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, Peace 2011
- Alan J. Heeger, USA Chemistry, 2000
- 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
- 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
- Jason Box, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007
- Graciela Chichilnisky, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007
- Michael Mann, USA, Contributor to the Nobel winning IPCC, Peace 2007
 The report on the state of the divestment movement will be released on 12 December. Last year’s report is available here: Arabella Advisors: Measuring the growth of the global fossil fuel divestment and clean energy investment movement [pdf], October 2015