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Noam Chomsky backs student push against Queen's University fossil fuels nest egg

By Linda Stewart

Published 02/10/2015

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky has backed a student campaign to stop Queen's University Belfast investing in firms linked to fossil fuels.

The renowned academic, political commentator and social justice activist is understood to have given his blessing to an open letter students are sending to the university, which is believed to have at least £1m in an index trust linked to companies including Shell and BP.

Students are to hold a referendum on the matter after a petition by group Fossil-Free QUB attracted over 650 signatures.

The group's Sean Fearon said the idea came about at a meeting earlier this year organised by Professor John Barry of the Green Party, where a talk was given by activists who were successful in forcing the University of Glasgow to take its money out of firms linked to fossil fuels.

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Mr Fearon added: "We launched the petition at the Freshers' Fair and started collecting signatures for a student referendum to show that there is a mandate for this.

"Our message is that you need to be on the right side of history for this as it is the fastest growing grassroots movement.

"This is an urgent campaign that everybody needs to get involved in. If Queen's is committed to a low-carbon future and also to a secure and safe future for all its students, then it is hypocritical to actively invest in the destruction of that future."

Other bodies to have removed their money from such firms include Norwegian and Swedish pension funds and many of the UK's Russell Group universities.

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