Stanford takes on coal, not tobacco

Professor Frank Wolak's piece on Stanford University's decision to divest its endowment fund from coal mining interests, and his alternative of an on-campus "revenue-neutral carbon tax," are both to be commended, as the Stanford community seeks no longer to profit from funds from corporate interests that produce highly toxic clouds of smoke that lead to deleterious health effects. ("Memo to Stanford: Don't attack coal, attack carbon -- with a tax," Opinion, May 18)

Now, if only Stanford were consistent in its policy on accepting research money from tobacco companies, which essentially do the same thing.


As an alum, I'm glad Stanford wants to get the "toxic soot" out of its investment portfolio. I just wish it would do likewise for its research funding portfolio.

Donald Bentley

La Puente

Stanford's choice should be everyone's choice. It's not just about tuition and faculty salaries. It's about all of us doing our part to find ways to end the bickering that is suffocating governmental efforts to combat climate change around the globe.

It's also, and most important, about seeing that there is a future for the people, animals and plants that wonderfully fill our world.

A revenue-neutral carbon fee that takes something from large and small greenhouse gas polluters and later gives something back is fair to all. What's needed is for a great institution like Stanford to seize the lead, follow its own faculty member's suggestion and provide the model that other universities, corporations, governments and households can follow.

Providing rational leadership is what great universities do.

Christle Balvin