The Guardian has launched a campaign : Keep it in the Ground!

The U.K. Guardian has launched a campaign of science and conscience to reverse humanity’s self-destructive pursuit of burning all of the world’s fossil fuels: #keepitintheground. Journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen labeled it “an old fashioned newspaper campaign.” The Guardian starts by calling on Bill and Melinda Gates to divest their foundation from all investments in fossil fuels. Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger has also asked for help from whistleblowers in fossil fuel industries to help expose the industry.

The science is clear that we need to leave the majority of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to have any chance whatsoever of limiting total warming to non-catastrophic levels. The journal Nature spelled that out in a January study, “The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C.” The Guardian has posted a video on their website explaining why we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and why that is the biggest story in the world:


 Editor Rusbridger writes that the argument to divest from the biggest carbon polluters is “becoming an overwhelming one, on both moral and financial grounds.” He quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.” He explains: The usual rule of newspaper campaigns is that you don’t start one unless you know you’re going to win it. This one will almost certainly be won in time: the physics is unarguable. But we are launching our campaign today in the firm belief that it will force the issue now into the boardrooms and inboxes of people who have billions of dollars at their disposal. 

Media campaigns for the public interest and against injustice are nothing new. And what greater public interest is there than not turning much of the planet’s most habitable and arable land into a near permanent dustbowl, sharply reducing humanity’s ability to feed what will then be 9 billion people? 

Bill McKibben, one of the founders of the divestment movement whose organization is partnering with the Guardian, emailed me, “Alan Rusbridger is the finest newspaper editor of his era, and this caps his career — he’s the first editor, I think, that’s ever truly treated the greatest story of our time with the gravity it requires.”