In March 2021, the student-led group Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard submitted a legal complaint to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, alleging that the Harvard Corporation’s estimated $838 million invested in the fossil fuel industry represents a violation of its fiduciary duty under state laws.

To help inform this consideration, SEI Scientist and Harvard alumna Ploy Achakulwisut submitted a letter to the attorney general, summarizing three key insights based on research conducted within SEI’s Initiative on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change and beyond, that compel the case for fossil fuel divestment.

After nearly a decade of organizing by students, faculty, alumni and community members, Harvard University announced on 9 September 2021 that it will stop investing in fossil fuels. Student organizers believe that their legal complaint, which could be applicable to other US states, may have been one of the crucial tipping points.