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When we started this campaign, 17 Church of England dioceses had no fossil fuel investments but had yet to make a formal commitment never to invest in fossil fuels in the future, while seven CofE dioceses were still investing in fossil fuels, however, these numbers have now changed: as of 6 April 2023, only 13 CofE dioceses have no fossil fuel investments but have yet to make a divestment commitment, while just six dioceses are still investing in fossil fuel companies.
In the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, 10 dioceses are still investing in fossil fuels – including Cardiff, Liverpool, Nottingham, Plymouth and Wrexham – two have yet to commit never to invest in the future, and 10 have made full divestment commitments.
Between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, 40 dioceses had yet to make a formal divestment commitment at the beginning of 2023, though in January 2023, the Diocese of London announced it would divest; on 16 February, Lichfield Diocese announced its divestment; on 20 February, the Diocese of Rochester divested; and on 28 February, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton publicly announced its divestment from fossil fuels via its website, though was keen to point out that it had made the decision to divest back in October 2022.
A divestment commitment involves making a formal commitment to disinvest any investments in fossil fuel companies within a five-year time frame, as well as to pledge never to invest in fossil fuels in the future.
This Lent, UK Christians are calling on CofE and Catholic dioceses to give up on fossil fuel companies, which continue to underinvest in renewables and explore for new oil and gas against the warnings of the UN and the International Energy Agency. Revd Dr Darrell Hannah, Chair of Operation Noah and Rector of All Saints Church, Ascot, said:
‘Last year’s analysis from Global Witness showed that 20 fossil fuel companies – including Shell, Total, BP and ExxonMobil – planned to spend nearly $1 trillion on fossil fuel expansion at the very time we have to stop all new oil and gas developments if we’re to have any hope of preventing runaway global heating. And this winter, while millions of people suffer due to high energy bills, fossil fuel companies are making record profits. For Churches and dioceses to profit off of the misery of other people, and the destruction of our beautiful world, is not acceptable. Investing in fossil fuels is not ethical. We must divest this Lent.’
For a daily update on our ’40 Days, 40 Dioceses’ campaign – including any breaking divestment announcements – you can follow our live blog here.