Why Divestment Defeated Apartheid and How It Might Help Beat Climate Change

The Money Didn’t Matter. The Movement Did

The environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben estimates that climate divestment—the movement to pressure universities, churches, and other institutions to stop investing in, and thus profiting from, carbon-emitting companies—has removed close to $15 trillion from investments in polluting companies, marking a significant victory for Planet Earth.

That’s an incredible achievement over the short span of a decade. However, climate divestment’s increasing visibility has also cultivated an audience of detractors who argue that it is ineffective. Bill Gates is famously skeptical of the benefits of divestment because it doesn’t directly stop carbon …