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At the start of 2023, 40 dioceses across England and Wales (27 in the Church of England and 13 in the Catholic Church) had yet to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuels, which involves committing to sell any investments in fossil fuel companies and not to invest in these companies in the future.
This Lent, Operation Noah, through our websites and social media channels, will highlight one of these dioceses on each of the 40 days of Lent and will encourage Christians to call on Church leaders to make changes.
To find out how you can join our 40 Days, 40 Dioceses campaign, join us for a one-hour Zoom call on Tuesday 7 February at 5.30pm (register for the call here).
If you would like to record a short video as to why dioceses should divest, or to submit a photo with a quote asking your diocesan leaders to take action on divestment, please get in touch by filling out this short form.
This is a crucial year for moving away from fossil fuel investments and investing in climate solutions. The International Energy Agency has said there can be no new fossil fuel developments if we are to keep global heating to 1.5ºC; meanwhile, the Church of England is fast approaching its own deadline to divest from companies that are not Paris compliant.
Join the Next Global Divestment Announcement
Our hope is that this 40 Days, 40 Dioceses Lenten campaign will help us to secure more divestment commitments for our next Global Divestment Announcement on 20 April 2023, two days before Earth Day – an announcement we will make with our friends and partners at Laudato Si’ Movement, World Council of Churches, Green Anglicans and GreenFaith.
If you would be interested in getting your local church, diocese or religious order to make a divestment commitment, we would love to hear from you.
A divestment commitment involves making a formal commitment to divest (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.
Even if your church or faith institution does not hold any direct fossil fuel investments (if, for instance, it only has a bank account), it can make a powerful statement by pledging not to invest in fossil fuels in the future.
Please email email@example.com before 12 April 2023 for more information about the next Global Divestment Announcement.
The context: Fossil fuels continue to fuel conflict
The escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine has continued over the last year, fuelled in no small part by Russian fossil fuel profits. Although the Church of England’s National Investing Bodies pledged to reconsider their shareholding in TotalEnergies if it failed to cut ties with Russian suppliers, they have continued to invest in Total. As Rt Revd Manuel Ernesto, the Anglican bishop of Nampula in Northern Mozambique has highlighted, the fossil fuel industry has destabilised many regions around the world, including in his own diocese, resulting in human rights violations, displacement of people, violence, death and environmental degradation.
Most denominations in the UK – including the Church in Wales, Methodist Church in Britain, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and the Baptist Union – have fully divested from fossil fuel companies. An increasing number of dioceses have divested from fossil fuel companies since 2021; for example, in the last two years, the number of Church of England dioceses to divest has increased to 16 from a starting point of zero.
However, two of the three National Investing Bodies of the Church of England – the Church Commissioners and the Pensions Board – are still invested in fossil fuels, in addition to some individual Church of England dioceses, which still have fossil fuel investments.