Climate Change Experts to Address Warren Buffett on Fossil Fuel Divestment Proposal

Three nationally prominent climate scientists will attend the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting Saturday May 6 to urge the company’s divestment of its fossil fuel holdings. Dr. Michael Mann, Dr. Richard Somerville and Retired Rear Admiral David Titley will each take a turn at the microphone to speak in support of the Nebraska Peace Foundation shareholder proposal calling for Berkshire Hathaway to completely divest from fossil fuels over the next twelve years.

“We are honored that three such eminent climate scientists have volunteered to come to the 2017 Shareholder Meeting to directly address Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates and the other Berkshire Hathaway board members about the growing peril of climate change,” said Loyal Park, Nebraska Peace Foundation president. “The science clearly states that, to avert the worst effects of climate disruption, we must begin reducing our carbon emissions, starting today. Continued investment in fossil fuels—in coal, in oil, in natural gas and in tar sands—will make it all but impossible to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius, jeopardizing any chance we have to limit the destruction and chaos of climate change. We have no choice but to start winding down our fossil fuel use now and invest full bore in clean energy sources like wind and solar.”

In its statement urging a vote against the divestment proposal, the Berkshire Hathaway board of directors declared that the company “should not limit its universe of potential investments based upon complex social and moral issues.” That the Berkshire Hathaway board would take such a narrow view on climate change, Mr. Park said, tells the Nebraska Peace Foundation that the company’s directors haven’t yet grasped the overarching threat global warming poses economically and environmentally—let alone the social and moral implications.

“Hopefully,” he said, “hearing from scientific authorities like Dr. Mann, Dr. Somerville and Rear Admiral Titley in person will help the Berkshire Hathaway board comprehend the climate emergency we now face globally. Climate change, if uncurbed, will up-end the entire world—the financial world included.” The international community, Park stressed, has never needed Warren Buffett’s and Berkshire Hathaway’s leadership and guidance more than it does right now. “We still have hope they’ll provide it. That by divesting Berkshire of its fossil fuel holdings, they’ll set an example for others while we still have time to act.”

Michael Mann 

Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, is internationally renowned for his ground-breaking research on climate change—including the famed “hockey stick curve.” The author of more than 200 publications and three books, Professor Mann was selected by Bloomberg News as one of the fifty most influential people in 2013. His most recent book, co-authored with Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, is The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. mann@psu.edu

Richard Somerville

Dr. Richard Somerville is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. An authority on the prospects for climate change in coming decades, he is a Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Professor Somerville serves on the “Science and Security Board” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, whose “Doomsday Clock” now sits at two-and-one-half minutes to midnight—due in part to the threat to humanity posed by severe climate change. rsomerville@ucsd.edu 619-977-2713

David Titley

Retired Rear Admiral David Titley is a Professor of Practice in Meteorology and a Professor of International Affairs at Penn State where he directs the “Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.” The former commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Professor Titley initiated and led the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change while serving in the Pentagon. He is a board member of the “Science and Security Board” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Center for Climate and Security, which focuses on the risk climate disruption poses to our nation’s security. dwt12@psu.edu 814-867-4740

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