HCM City youth call on banks, firms to stop funding fossil fuels

HCM CITY (VNS) — A series of activities on climate change and energy have been launched by 350.org Viet Nam aimed at raising people’s awareness about the threat of a carbon bubble.

Taking on the main theme of a global campaign — Divestment from fossil fuels — hundreds of young people in HCM City have sent a message to the banking and investment sectors.

The message calls on them to consider environmental impacts when deciding on future investments, to eventually stop funding fossil fuel projects and to start investing in renewable energy solutions that will serve the benefits of both the community and the economy.

A briefing was recently held in HCM City to discuss climate change and energy issues as well as feasible renewable energy solutions for Viet Nam. Participants at the briefing shared their action plans for 2015, including some brand new and creative youth-led activities across the country.

This year, CHANGE (Centre of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment), 350.org Viet Nam and other NGOs under the Viet Nam Sustainable Energy Alliance plan to campaign for sustainable energy, developing solutions and supporting youth in development projects tied to climate change and energy issues.

“When we started planning this campaign in Viet Nam, I was worried it would not work, as divestment is such a new term. But when I shared with young people, I was taken by surprise that they got it very quickly. They were the ones coming up with the idea of bringing the message to the banking and investment sectors, so these institutions could be an important part of the renewable energy development, as Viet Nam has so much potential,” said Hoang Thi Minh Hong, Executive Director of CHANGE and the Southeast Asia Co-ordinator of 350.org.

“It’s time we put an end to the fossil fuel era. It’s high time we adopted big solutions to save the world: to switch to renewable energy,” she added.

Global Divestment Day kicked off earlier this month at ABC International School in HCM City, where 300 students attended presentations on climate change, learned about the global climate movement from 350.org and discussed various ways young people could help slow climate change.

Global Divestment Day is the crux of the Fossil Free campaign that 350.org global launched back in 2012. By 2014, 181 institutions and governments, and 656 individuals around the world, with total assets of US$50 billion, have divested from companies and projects, citing climate or carbon risk as their motivation.

There are now over 500 active divestment campaigns underway at universities, cities, churches, banks, pension funds and other institutions around the world. — VNS

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