Welton and Franta said that fossil fuel companies use lobbying and the legal system to block clean energy measures, arguing that the fossil fuel industry actively fights clean energy rather than simply promoting its own interests.
During the event, Welton and Franta also read statements from leading climate experts and University faculty, including Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael E. Mann, SEAS Professor of Applied Physics David Keith, and Professor of Biological Oceanography James J. McCarthy.
“The intention [of the “teach-ins”] was to provide some time to learn the truth about what fossil fuel companies are doing,” Welton said after the event.
The event followed several attempts by Divest Harvard to confront the University on the topic of divestment. According to Franta, “The [Harvard] Corporation is not interested in meeting anymore, and so we don’t have a way to engage with them anymore.” The Corporation is the University’s highest governing body.
Welton said that it is time for President Faust to engage with students and the community in a public forum.
“Otherwise we’re going to keep doing what we can to bring together enough sources from our students and faculty and alumni that the administration can’t afford to ignore us anymore,” she said.
Faust did not attend the event.
—Staff writer Kristina D. Lorch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.