The United Reformed Church’s (URC) National Synod of Scotland has backed the fossil fuel divestment campaign and will now begin moving its investments out of polluting energy sources.
The resolution on divestment was passed at the spring synod meeting. The organisation agreed that no further investment in fossil fuels shall take place and to review current financial arrangements and ensure that investments do not harm the planet.
Reverend John Humphreys, moderator of the URC’s National Synod of Scotland, said, “I’m delighted that the synod has shows a clear commitment to ethical investment – they have taken affirmative action against climate change and put people and the planet at the heart of their finance decision making.”
He added, “Rising temperatures and sea levels, severe storms, droughts and floods will inevitably lead to the displacement and endangering of billions of people and the loss of lives. Many others, particularly the poorest, will lose all they have.
“We hope and pray that other churches will feel able to respond ethically to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change.”
The organisation notes that two thirds of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to prevent dangerous levels of climate change, yet many companies plan to extract all their reserves and continue to explore new ones. A study from the University College London found a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of coal reserves must not be used before 2050 and labelled fossil fuel investments as “increasingly risky”.
The fossil fuel divestment movement has been gathering momentum with educational institutions, councils, pension funds and religious organisations all committing.
Operation Noah, a Christian campaign group calling for action on climate change, has been calling on UK churches to divest from fossil fuels, take a leading role in the debate on the ethics of fossil fuel investments, and reinvest in clean energy alternatives.
Mark Letcher, coordinator of the church divestment campaign, described the move by the United Reformed Church in Scotland as “prophetic” and a “huge step forward” for the campaign.
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