November/December 2021Vol. XXXIV No. 2

MIT’s Endowment Returns and Fossil Fuels

Rafael Jaramillo

To the Faculty Newsletter:

The announcement on October 14 of MIT’s spectacular endowment returns frames a question: How much less spectacular might the return have been if MIT had been divested in fossil fuels? If the returns would have been lower, is this a price we would have been willing to pay for taking the ethically correct step of divestment? It is obvious to even the most casual observer that every dollar invested in the fossil fuel industry is a quantifiable disregard for our children’s future.

If this ethically bright line is not enough to move MIT to divest, then perhaps a straightforward exercise in accounting will be.