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Christian charity launches fossil fuels divestment campaign for churches



Climate change-focused religious group Operation Noah has called on churches to ditch their assets in fossil fuels and take the lead in ethical investment.

Its new campaign, launched this week and called Bright Now: towards fossil free Churches , calls on religious institutions to divest their polluting energy assets and become leaders in sustainable investment in clean energy technologies.

Mark Letcher, head of Operation Noah’s campaign, said, “There is a clear gap between official church policy on climate change and church investments in fossil fuel companies.

“But church leaders are living in a fool’s paradise if they think they can meet their policy commitments to preventing catastrophic changes to the climate system whilst investing in companies seeking expansion in fossil fuel reserves.”

The charity led a survey and found that 63% of Anglicans believed that the church should urgently address challenges related to manmade climate change. However, only one in four thought it should divest from fossil fuels, because they don’t see climate change as a key issue in investment.

Meanwhile, 90% of churchgoers acknowledged that the church should invest its money ‘ethically’.

Some bishops and archbishops have already subscribed the campaign. Operation Noah chair Isabel Carter said, “Climate change is a social justice issue and as such should deeply concern all Christians.”

In July, the Church of England was reviewing its investment policy on fossil fuels, saying these were not yet excluded from investment decisions but were “up for review”.

The announcement comes shortly after two Anglican dioceses in New Zealand claimed they were going to divest from fossil fuels because of ethical and environmental concerns.

Further reading:

‘The church must see caring for the environment as part of morality’

New Zealand diocese announce fossil fuels divestment plans

Church of England urged to use theology as motivation for fossil fuel divestment 

Pope Francis: assuming responsibility for nature?

The Guide to Climate Change 2013