Since the divestment movement began, portfolios worth a combined $39.2 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels — that’s a figure higher than the annual GDP of the United States and China combined have partly or completely divested from fossil fuels. Among those divesting are Harvard University, Rockefeller Family and New York City's pension fund.
While $39 trillion is a big number, the fossil fuel industry is enormous. Can divestment really have an impact? Two recent studies say yes, it can. The first study found the movement is already having an impact on oil company share prices, which raises the industry’s capital costs, and in turn makes exploration for and development of oil reserves more expensive. The second study suggests the movement has helped advance the debate on climate change.