Désinvestir pour un avenir meilleur

SEATTLE – L’ampleur d’un mouvement se mesure parfois le mieux à l’aune de la réaction de ses opposants. Lorsque l’Australian National University (ANU) a annoncé début octobre qu’elle entendait céder sa participation dans sept entreprises minières et pétrolières, sa décision a donné lieu à une avalanche de critiques de la part des politiciens conservateurs du pays.

Ces champions déclarés du marché de libre échange n’ont pas tardé à dire à l’université ce qu’elle devait faire de son argent. Le Trésorier australien Joe Hockey a attaqué cette décision en disant qu’elle n’avait « aucun lien avec la réalité ». D’autres se sont joints au concert, la qualifiant de « décision honteuse », « très étrange » et « étriquée et irresponsable ». Peu importe que les sommes en jeu soient relativement faibles – représentant moins de 2 pour cent du portefeuille de l’université, estimé à 1 milliard de dollars.

Au fur et à mesure que le mouvement de cession d’actifs dans l’industrie des combustibles fossiles prend de l’ampleur, plus les réactions paniquées se font nombreuses. Le tollé des conservateurs australiens me rappelle la réaction opposée à mon témoignage devant le Congrès américain en 2013, lorsque j’avais dit que nous « devrions laisser le charbon dans le sol, là où il doit être ». David McKinley, un membre républicain du congrès de Virginie-Occidentale, le cœur de la région de production de charbon des Etats-Unis, a répondu que mes paroles « lui donnait des frissons d’horreur » pour ensuite changer de sujet et parler du taux de criminalité de Seattle, dont j’étais maire à l’époque.

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