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1. Should the Nottingham Students' Union campaign against fracking in Nottingham?

Proposed By: Elisabeth Charbonneau
Passed on 26th November 2015. (427th Union Council)
Primary Officer: Environment and Social Justice
Secondary Officer: Community

Why are you proposing the idea?

The proposal of fracking would adversely effects students of Nottingham University, if it were to be allowed. The areas identified are Beeston/Chilwell and Wollaton. This may include public parks of Nottingham, which means Wollaton Park may be subject to the air and noise pollution caused by fracking.

Fracking involves the use of hydraulic water pumped into the ground to search for shale oil gas. Thus ‘fracturing the earth, essentially man made fractures, causes fault lines which is something is naturally to be avoided. Fractures can precipitate earthquakes at worst and at best cause subsidence to nearby buildings which can lead to closure of buildings due to safety hazards. Not to mention the invisible danger of radioactive radon gas, which can be released into the atmosphere.

They stopped fracking in Blackpool, UK. a place not known for earthquakes, due to two earthquakes, which fracking was cited as the sole cause by experts in the field . They also stopped it on grounds of noise and air pollution. Certain residents have sued for loss of hearing and mental stress due to the noise and air pollution. Often, the initial exploratory stages of fracking includes detonating explosive charges. ‘Setting off bombs near civilians whether or not the council approves is a form of terrorism.’ This was said by a member of council from Blackpool who attended the meeting on fracking here in Nottingham.

Fracking is an international problem. In America water contamination as a result of fracking has made international news. Oklahoma a place not renowned for earthquakes, now has earthquakes as dangerous as California. which is subject to the San Andreas fault. I understand the University there has seen a decline in new students, and have lawsuits of negligence for exposing students to such high levels of noise pollution. This is hearsay but it’s from someone who attended the University who would not give names for legal reasons.

Nottingham Student Union supports the well-being of the student body.

Nottingham University has a wonderful reputation academically and many students have chosen to attend Nottingham University over other academically acclaimed universities because the campus is beautifully clean, and a peaceful place to study. If this balance is upset the reputation of Nottingham University will be tarnished. Allowing dangerous levels of noise and air pollution near the campus is not economically sound for Nottingham University or the wellbeing of their students. We as students can use our tools of democracy and peacefully prevent this from happening through campaigning.

Who supports your idea / who have you consulted with about it?

The student body in general backs this idea. I have already raised over a hundred signatures from just one afternoon of canvassing on campus. Friends of the Earth supports Nottingham against fracking, who has offered to provide us with flyers and stickers. The campaign would include raising awareness. Many students are not aware that fracking is proposed for Beeston/Chilwell and Wollaton. Plus hold informative and fun events where students can sign petitions listen to music, and hear talks on the matter from both sides. It would be interesting to hear what Hutton the American oil company that has a branch in Nottingham, who is proposing to do the fracking has to say on the matter. The campaign would certainly educate the students and give them the right to express their opinion. This is what democracy is based on, education and the freedom of speech.

2. Should the Students' Union wholly divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest such investments in renewable energy?

Proposed By: Rachel Eyles
Passed on 26th November 2015. (427th Union Council)
Primary Officer: Environment and Social Justice
Secondary Officer: Community

Why are you proposing the Idea?

Profiting from environmental destruction is unethical and conflicts with strategies set out by the University of Nottingham (UoN) to express its environmental commitment. UoN's investment policy states that investment in companies which demonstrate "explicit environmental damage" will not take place1. However, the fossil fuel companies Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Total and Centrica make up 11.08% of UoN's portfolio and the total market value of UoN's investment in fossil fuels is £3,952,351 as of 31st July 2014.

People and Planet Society are submitting this motion, as we believe the Student's Union (SU) at UoN should join the divestment movement and help break the hold the fossil fuel industry possesses over our economy and our governments. With the success of the Fossil Free campaign, the SU at UoN will join the hundreds of organisations divesting from fossil fuel companies across the globe, including the University of Glasgow, Warwick and Oxford, the World Council of Churches and the British Medical Association.

What is the motion asking the Student’s Union to be mandated to do:

Should the Student's Union wholly divest, removing stocks, bonds and investment funds, from fossil fuel companies and reinvest such investments in renewable energy?

What evidence do you have to back up your Idea?

To invest in fossil fuel companies is to run against UoN's aim to "act in an environmentally responsible way"2. BP for example have shut down their solar business3 and invested only 2% of profits into alternative energy between 2005 and 20154. In their Sustainability Review 2013, once previous targets for alternative energy spending were met, the fossil fuel company said "BP hasn't made a public commitment on future spending for alternative energy"5. BP were responsible for the 11 deaths and 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem6.

Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK's most respected environmental leaders, described his years working on green energy projects with Shell and BP as a "painful journey", culminating in his belief that no key fossil fuel organisation will commit to renewable technology in the near future. Porritt, writing in the Guardian, said that the leaders of these powerful companies "know, as an irrefutable fact, that their current business model threatens both the stability of the global economy and the longer-term prospects of humankind as a whole."7

The widely accepted 'safe-limit' for global climate change is 2°C above the average preindustrial temperature, that which policy makers have agreed to. A recent study posted in the journal Nature concluded that if these global targets of temperature are to be met, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of coal reserves should remain unburned from 2010-2050. Allowing continual fossil fuel exploration is inconsistent with global efforts to keep temperature increases below 2°C and is needless; there are more proven oil and gas reserves that can be safely burnt without exceeding this threshold8.

The 2°C threshold is an estimate over which 'catastrophic climate change' is set to take place. Globally we could expect water scarcity, the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, ice retreat leading to sea level rise and flooding and a complete change in global food security. In July of this year, James Hansen (formerly of NASA) and 16 other top climatologists concluded that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previously estimated. The authors issued a grave warning: "Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."9

Who supports your idea / who have you consulted with about it?

Since February last year, we have gained over 800 signatures on our petition for the Fossil Free campaign10, and are hoping to greatly increase this number by the end of 2015. The undoubted support the campaign has received from students, societies and staff is a testament to the environmental conscience of all those at UoN. On average, each student in the UK invests approximately £1,804 in fossil fuels by just being part of UoN and paying their tuition fees11. This fact does understandably not sit well for most students and others who support the motion

3. Should the University of Nottingham wholly divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest such investments in renewable energy?

Proposed By: Rachel Eyles
Passed on 26th November 2015. (427th Union Council)
Primary Officer: Environment and Social Justice
Secondary Officer: Community

Why are you proposing the Idea?

Profiting from environmental destruction is unethical and conflicts with strategies set out by the University of Nottingham (UoN) to express its environmental commitment. UoN's investment policy states that investment in companies which demonstrate "explicit environmental damage" will not take place1. However, the fossil fuel companies Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Total and Centrica make up 11.08% of UoN's portfolio and the total market value of UoN's investment in fossil fuels is £3,952,351 as of 31st July 2014.

People and Planet Society are submitting this motion, as we believe the Student's Union (SU) at UoN should join the divestment movement and help break the hold the fossil fuel industry possesses over our economy and our governments. With the success of the Fossil Free campaign, the SU at UoN will join the hundreds of organisations divesting from fossil fuel companies across the globe, including the University of Glasgow, Warwick and Oxford, the World Council of Churches and the British Medical Association.

What is the motion asking the Student’s Union to be mandated to do:

Should the Student's Union wholly divest, removing stocks, bonds and investment funds, from fossil fuel companies and reinvest such investments in renewable energy?

What evidence do you have to back up your Idea?

To invest in fossil fuel companies is to run against UoN's aim to "act in an environmentally responsible way"2. BP for example have shut down their solar business3 and invested only 2% of profits into alternative energy between 2005 and 20154. In their Sustainability Review 2013, once previous targets for alternative energy spending were met, the fossil fuel company said "BP hasn't made a public commitment on future spending for alternative energy"5. BP were responsible for the 11 deaths and 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem6.

Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK's most respected environmental leaders, described his years working on green energy projects with Shell and BP as a "painful journey", culminating in his belief that no key fossil fuel organisation will commit to renewable technology in the near future. Porritt, writing in the Guardian, said that the leaders of these powerful companies "know, as an irrefutable fact, that their current business model threatens both the stability of the global economy and the longer-term prospects of humankind as a whole."7

The widely accepted 'safe-limit' for global climate change is 2°C above the average preindustrial temperature, that which policy makers have agreed to. A recent study posted in the journal Nature concluded that if these global targets of temperature are to be met, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of coal reserves should remain unburned from 2010-2050. Allowing continual fossil fuel exploration is inconsistent with global efforts to keep temperature increases below 2°C and is needless; there are more proven oil and gas reserves that can be safely burnt without exceeding this threshold8.

The 2°C threshold is an estimate over which 'catastrophic climate change' is set to take place. Globally we could expect water scarcity, the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, ice retreat leading to sea level rise and flooding and a complete change in global food security. In July of this year, James Hansen (formerly of NASA) and 16 other top climatologists concluded that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previously estimated. The authors issued a grave warning: "Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."9

Who supports your idea / who have you consulted with about it?

Since February last year, we have gained over 800 signatures on our petition for the Fossil Free campaign10, and are hoping to greatly increase this number by the end of 2015. The undoubted support the campaign has received from students, societies and staff is a testament to the environmental conscience of all those at UoN. On average, each student in the UK invests approximately £1,804 in fossil fuels by just being part of UoN and paying their tuition fees11. This fact does understandably not sit well for most students and others who support the motion