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PRESS RELEASE: Faith institutions launch new wave of fossil fuel divestment

Posted in: Featured, News

Commitments highlight need for governments to increase ambition on climate action

London, Monday 16 November
Contact: James Buchanan, Operation Noah  james.buchanan@operationnoah.org, +44 7801 570 653

Today, 47 faith institutions from 21 countries, including nine institutions from the UK, announce their divestment from fossil fuels as a practical response to the climate emergency.

Participating institutions include five Catholic religious orders in the UK, two United Reformed Church Synods, UK-based local Anglican and Methodist churches, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (Catholic) and American Jewish World Service. The full list of participating institutions is here.

The announcement coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Faith leaders’ action puts pressure on government leaders, and their commitment to clean energy stands in stark contrast with many governments’ failure to deliver ambitious energy strategies.

The UK government faces increasing pressure to demonstrate global leadership on the climate crisis ahead of the UN climate talks (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021. Earlier this month, 70 organisations launched The Climate Coalition’s 10 Point Plan for a Green, Healthy and Fair Recovery. This includes a call for the UK government to end all public support for fossil fuels overseas and support countries to leapfrog to renewable and efficient energy.

Recently, in preparation for the G20 meeting that begins on 21 November, environment ministers released a statement that was widely seen as rubber-stamping fossil fuel bailouts and removed a long-standing G20 call for the end to fossil fuel subsidies.

With renewables now growing at a faster pace than fossil fuels, institutional investors are increasingly moving toward sustainable investments in the clean energy economy. Faith investors are an important part of this movement, constituting the single-largest source of divestment in the world, making up one-third of all commitments.

Pressure from faith investors and others has exposed the inherent weakness of the fossil fuel industry, with Royal Dutch Shell now citing divestment as a material risk to its business.

This week, from 19-21 November, Pope Francis has convened the ‘Economy of Francesco’, an online conference involving more than 1,000 young adults, which will explore innovative ways of shaping a sustainable economy. This conference builds on an announcement in June, when the Vatican recommended in its first-ever operational guidelines on ecology that all Catholic organisations divest from fossil fuels.

Today’s divestment announcement means that more than 400 religious institutions have now committed to divest.

Statements from leaders:

Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, said: ‘The economic power of faiths, turned to responsible investments and the green economy, can be a major driver of positive change, and an inspiration to others, as we rebuild better.’

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah, said: ‘It is hugely encouraging that so many faith institutions have stopped investing in the fossil fuel industry. Churches need to divest from fossil fuel companies as a practical response to the climate emergency ahead of COP26 next year. The UK government urgently needs to end all public support for fossil fuels at home and overseas.’

The United Reformed Church Southern Synod has transferred its reserves into a new fund that excludes the oil, gas, and coal industries. Revd Bridget Banks, Moderator of United Reformed Church Southern Synod, said: ‘We are pleased that we have been able to achieve this during the COVID lockdown. It’s an issue that we have been wrestling with for several years. It is good that we have now brought our investments into line with our commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the Synod. Many of our local congregations are also exploring how to line up the ways they do things with their belief that this world is God’s world and God calls us to take care of it.’

Fr Dermot Byrne MHM, Regional Representative for the Mill Hill Missionaries (British Region), said: ‘Our members have always worked among the poorest and most disadvantaged in Africa, Asia and South America, and the pursuit of social equality and justice has always been a serious priority for us. Concern for what Pope Francis reminds us is ‘our common home’ has to be part of that pursuit. There can seem to be little that we can do to make an impact, but divestment from fossil fuels is a practical choice that is open to us all and may have far-reaching results. Consequently, we feel that such divestment is in line with Catholic social teaching and the spirit of the present age, and we are happy that we, as a Region, are able to make this small contribution.’

Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector, St Mary’s Walthamstow and the Parish of Walthamstow
(Photo credit: Cameron Conant)

Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector of St Mary’s Walthamstow and the Parish of Walthamstow, said: ‘The climate crisis is the most critical issue facing our planet and, as Christians, we must act. People in my parish experience the impacts of this crisis every day through ill health related to air pollution and are worried about what we will leave future generations. It’s no longer acceptable to fund fossil fuels or assume these businesses will regulate themselves. We must divest, and must use our power to hasten the green energy revolution we need.’

Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, said, ‘We decided to divest from fossil fuels earlier this year to align fully how we invest our funds with our global grantmaking to combat climate change and secure climate justice for the most vulnerable people in the world, ensuring that we live our Jewish values and take up our enduring commitment to repair our broken world.’

The full list of participating institutions is here.

ENDS

Contact:  James Buchanan, Operation Noah:
james.buchanan@operationnoah.org, 07801 570653

Notes for editors:

1. Operation Noah is a Christian charity working with the Church to inspire action on climate change. It works with all Christian denominations. operationnoah.org

2. Economy of Francesco. francescoeconomy.org

3. G20 Summit. g20.org/en/Pages/home.aspx

4. An infographic map of committed institutions is here and here.

5. Global Divestment Announcement Statement:

The World Council of Churches, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Operation Noah, Green Anglicans and GreenFaith invite faith institutions from around the world to join a global divestment announcement on 16 November 2020.

The global divestment announcement, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, offers an opportunity to faith organisations to highlight the urgent need to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean alternatives.

The announcement will send a strong message to world leaders meeting at the G20 summit in November about the need for a green and just recovery from Covid-19. It will take place the week before the Economy of Francesco event, at which Pope Francis will give an online address to young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Divestment from fossil fuel holdings is a powerful act of faith that hundreds of religious institutions around the world have taken to respond to the climate emergency. It represents the shifting of investments out of an industry that is a primary cause of the climate crisis. Furthermore, an increasing number of values-driven investors are investing in solutions to the crisis, and are financing enterprises and initiatives providing access to clean, affordable energy, including zero-carbon energy solutions for the 850 million people without access to electricity.

Any groups interested in joining the announcement will confirm (i) that they have divested from fossil fuel investments; or (ii) that they will divest from any investments in fossil fuels as soon as possible, and within five years at the latest; or (iii) that they do not hold any fossil fuel investments and will not invest in fossil fuels in the future.

PRESS RELEASE: Methodist Council supports resolution on fossil fuel divestment in response to climate emergency

Posted in: Featured, News
Date posted: 13 October 2020

Tuesday 13 October 2020

For immediate release

Contact James Buchanan: 07801 570 653  james.buchanan@operationnoah.org

The Methodist Council has voted to support a motion calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies, agreeing that further action is needed to fully implement a motion on divestment passed by the 2017 Methodist Conference. The debate had been referred to Council by the Methodist Conference in July this year.

The 2017 Methodist Conference passed a motion calling for divestment from any fossil fuel company that had ‘not aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees’ by the 2020 Conference. Meeting the Paris Agreement goals is generally seen as our best chance of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis.

The Methodist Conference debate in July 2020 followed an announcement from the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church in June that it would divest from BP and Total, but continue investing in four oil and gas companies. It continued investing in Shell, Repsol, Eni and Equinor, after the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI) concluded that these companies ‘are aligned, or are close to being aligned, with the Paris Agreement.’

The resolution passed by Methodist Council states: ‘The Council supports the request that JACEI recommends that the Central Finance Board fully implements Notice of Motion 2017/209, and disinvests before the 2021 Conference from all oil and gas companies which are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees.’

Last week, the Transition Pathway Initiative (a project supported by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church) published its latest analysis of companies in different sectors, which showed that no oil and gas company is aligned with limiting global average temperature rises to well below 2°C, or even 2°C.

There has been growing support in the Methodist Church for full divestment from fossil fuels. In June, 260 Methodists, including 114 ministers and former Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Methodist Conference, signed a letter calling for the Central Finance Board to complete divestment from fossil fuel companies.

Five Methodist churches have already announced their decision to divest from fossil fuels including Ivybridge Methodist Church in Devon (in December 2019) and Stirling Methodist Church (in January 2020). Three further Methodist churches announced their decisions to end investments in fossil fuel companies as part of the global divestment announcement: Lancaster Methodist Church, Stroud Methodist Church and Banner Cross Methodist Church in Sheffield. They called on the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church to complete divestment from fossil fuels this year.

Martha Rand, a representative of the Methodist Youth Assembly,  who originally proposed the motion at Methodist Conference, said: ‘I am overjoyed that Methodist Council has agreed that JACEI and the Central Finance Board have not gone far enough in response to the climate emergency. This is vital not just for the new generation of Methodists, but also in support of our partner Churches around the world. We hope that the Methodist Church will now act with urgency to fully divest from all fossil fuel companies.’

The motion was seconded at Methodist Conference by Revd John Howard, the former Chair of JACEI, the Methodist Church’s ethical investment advisory group. He said: ‘I am glad that the Methodist Church has had the courage to do the right thing, given the severe and urgent nature of the climate crisis.’

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah, said: ‘We would like to thank the Methodist Council members and all Methodists who have supported this resolution on fossil fuel divestment. Given that no oil and gas companies are aligned with the Paris Agreement targets, the Central Finance Board should now commit to full divestment from all fossil fuel companies.’

Ends

Contact James Buchanan: 07801 570 653 james.buchanan@operationnoah.org

Notes for editors:

1. Operation Noah is a Christian charity working with the Church to inspire action on the climate crisis. It works with all Christian denominations. http://operationnoah.org/

2. The resolution passed at the Methodist Council on Monday 12 October reads as follows: ‘The Council supports the request that JACEI recommends that the Central Finance Board fully implements Notice of Motion 2017/209, and disinvests before the 2021 Conference from all oil and gas companies which are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees.’

3. The Central Finance Board announced in June that it had divested from BP and Total, but continued investing in four oil and gas companies. https://brightnow.org.uk/news/methodist-church-divests-from-bp-total-continues-investing-4-oil-companies/

4. 260 Methodists, including 114 ministers, signed a letter calling on the Central Finance Board to complete divestment from fossil fuels. https://brightnow.org.uk/news/100-methodist-ministers-call-for-divestment-ahead-of-methodist-conference/

5. The 2017 Conference passed a motion calling for divestment from any fossil fuel company that had ‘not aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees’ by the 2020 Conference. https://brightnow.org.uk/news/methodist-church-takes-step-closer-divestment/

6. Shell is planning to resume oil and gas exploration in the Arctic for the first time since 2015. https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/natural-gas/091720-shell-to-resume-oil-and-gas-exploration-in-alaska-arctic-offshore

7. Shell cut its quarterly dividend by two-thirds in April 2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52483455

8. A September 2020 Oil Change International report endorsed by Christian Aid, ShareAction and others, entitled Big Oil Reality Check — Assessing Oil And Gas Climate Plans, found that none of the major oil companies come close to alignment with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement (it analyses the companies using around 10 different metrics). http://priceofoil.org/2020/09/23/big-oil-reality-check/ 

9. The latest Transition Pathway Initiative analysis published on 7 October 2020 found that no oil and gas company is aligned with limiting global average temperature rises to well below 2°C, or even 2°C. https://www.ft.com/content/16091645-98b3-4041-9ca2-053fb60181ba

10. Here is the text of the amended motion passed by the Methodist Conference in July 2020:

  • The Conference welcomes the analysis provided by the Central Finance Board and JACEI, and the recent decision to disinvest from BP and Total
  • The Conference notes the recognition of the climate emergency by the 2019 Conference and the need for urgent action at all levels
  • The Conference notes that the Notice of Motion 2017/109 passed at the 2017 Conference requested disinvestment from any oil and gas company by the 2020 Conference that ‘has not aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees’
  • The Conference notes that the JACEI report for the 2020 Conference on Climate change and fossil fuels, which draws the conclusion that Repsol, ENI, Royal Dutch Shell, and Equinor ‘are aligned, or are close to being aligned, with the Paris Agreement’, has not fully implemented Notice of Motion 2017/109
  • Taking account of the findings of the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), a project supported by the Central Finance Board, the Conference refers to the Methodist Council a request that JACEI recommend that the Central Finance Board fully implements Notice of Motion 2017/209, and disinvests before the 2021 Conference from all oil and gas companies which are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees.

PRESS RELEASE: Christian environmental and development groups welcome Church of Scotland decision to set 2030 net zero target

Posted in: News
Date posted: 3 October 2020

Saturday 3 October 2020

For immediate release

Contacts:

Leanne Clelland, Christian Aid Scotland, 07835 123773

James Buchanan, Operation Noah, 07801 570653

Dunscore Parish Church has already committed to divest from fossil fuels

Christian environmental and development charities Christian Aid, Eco-Congregation Scotland and Operation Noah joyfully welcome the decision of the Church of Scotland to set a 2030 net zero target.

At the Church of Scotland 2020 General Assembly today, the Church’s Faith Impact Forum brought a proposal to the General Assembly ‘for the Church to transition both locally and nationally to net zero carbon emissions by 2030’.

General Assembly Commissioners voted to support an amendment from Rev Jenny Adams, Minister of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Parish Church.

The amended motion passed by General Assembly reads: ‘Instruct the Faith Impact Forum to work with others to develop a strategy for the Church to transition both locally and nationally to net zero carbon emissions by 2030, reporting an outline strategy to General Assembly 2021.’

The decision to set a 2030 net zero target is especially significant as Glasgow prepares to host the UN climate talks, COP26, in November 2021.

In her speech to the General Assembly, Rev Jenny Adams said: ‘This is a climate emergency and the next 10 years are crucial. I hope that by working with others within and beyond the Church, we will be able to get going on this difficult but vital transition, for the sake of all creation.’

Commissioners at the General Assembly also voted in favour of a motion on fossil fuel divestment proposed by Seonaid Knox. This motion called on the Church’s Faith Impact Forum to ‘report to the 2021 General Assembly on the ethical, scientific and theological arguments for and against urgent disinvestment from oil and gas companies’.

The Church of England voted to set a 2030 net zero target earlier this year. Many local authorities have also made this pledge, including the City Councils of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Christian Aid, Eco-Congregation Scotland and Operation Noah applauded the decision to set a 2030 net zero target. They said that the Church of Scotland now needs to end its investments in fossil fuel companies in order to demonstrate climate leadership ahead of the crucial COP26 climate summit.

Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: ‘The communities with which Christian Aid works, in many of the poorest parts of the world, are calling for urgent leadership on climate change, and this decision from the Church of Scotland demonstrates that leadership. We welcome it warmly, and look forward to working in partnership with the Church of Scotland to help realise these ambitious new goals. One of the steps that the Church could take in the short-term is to commit to end its investments in fossil fuel companies, and we hope that is part of the plans brought forward in 2021.’

Mary Sweetland, Chair of Eco-Congregation Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted that one of our key partner Churches has committed to transitioning to net zero in the next 10 years.’

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah, said: ‘It is wonderful news that the Church of Scotland has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2030. In order to demonstrate leadership on the climate crisis ahead of the UN climate talks in Glasgow next year, it is vital that the Church of Scotland supports a just and green recovery from Covid-19 by divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in the clean technologies of the future.’

ENDS

Notes for editors:

1. Operation Noah is a Christian charity working with the Church to inspire action on the climate crisis. It works with all Christian denominations.

2. Christian Aid holds a vision of a better world, free from poverty and climate change. For over ten years, Christian Aid Scotland has been campaigning for the UK and Scottish Governments to take climate change seriously for the benefit of those who are impacted first and worst by its effects.

3. Eco-Congregation Scotland is a movement of Scottish church congregations, of all denominations and none, committed to addressing environmental issues through their life and mission.

4. The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council recommended that the Investors’ Trust divest from fossil fuels ‘as a matter of urgency’ in December 2019.

5. The Church of England set a 2030 net zero carbon target in February 2020.

PRESS RELEASE: Faith institutions call for a just recovery by divesting from fossil fuels

Posted in: News

The following is a joint press release by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Operation Noah, Green Anglicans and GreenFaith.

18 May 2020

For immediate release

UK Contact: James Buchanan, Operation Noah

james.buchanan@operationnoah.org, +44 7801 570 653

Faith institutions call for a just recovery by divesting from fossil fuels
Bailouts and recovery packages must not empower polluters

As major challenges for the global economy are predicted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a diverse group of faith institutions is putting the call for a just economic recovery into practice.

Today, 42 faith institutions from 14 countries announce their divestment from fossil fuels. This is the largest-ever joint announcement of divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions. It comes from institutions in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain, the UK, and the United States.

As governments around the world make substantial investments in an economic recovery, faith communities urge them to think long term and focus on a recovery that is low-carbon and just. 

Mark Campanale, Founder and Executive Chair of Carbon Tracker, an independent think tank that analyzes the financial impact of an energy transition, said, “A comprehensive economic recovery means taking the long view, investing now in infrastructure that will serve communities for years to come. Fossil fuels do not have a place in the long-term health of humanity. Faith institutions’ commitment to create a better world is leadership that governments should follow.”

Earlier this month, a new report from Operation Noah showed that none of the major oil companies are compliant with the Paris agreement targets. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, said in response to the report, “The current health crisis has highlighted as never before the need for coherent international action in the face of global threat. Can we learn the lesson and apply it to the global threat of climate change? To do so means taking practical and effective steps to reduce our lethal dependence on fossil fuels.”

Today’s multi-faith announcement comes from Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and Buddhist  institutions, among others. The group includes the Jesuits in Britain, which divested its £400 million ($517.5 million) equity portfolio from fossil fuels in February 2020.

Illustrating the need for a just recovery, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in Bangladesh is among those committing to divest from fossil fuels. 

Bangladesh is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, where more than half a million people live near the Bay of Bengal. The Bay of Bengal is extremely vulnerable to the greater risk of catastrophic storms that come with climate change. A viral pandemic and a catastrophic storm would bring one of the world’s most vulnerable communities to a halt, illustrating the need to repair the faults that have left economies near the breaking point. 

Father Endra Wijayanta, director of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission for the Archdiocese of Semarang, in Indonesia, said, “In this COVID-19 pandemic, it is the exact time not only to reflect, but to act. We have to stop our ecological spiral of death. We have to revive our ecological hope, in massive repentance of humankind, by taking the pathway to more sustainable living.”

Faith communities have long taken the lead in the global divestment movement, and have contributed the single greatest number of commitments, with over 350 commitments in the global total of over 1,400. Today’s action by faith institutions puts pressure on governments around the world to enact policies that will lead to a comprehensive and resilient recovery. 

Catholics’ participation is especially resonant as today marks the start of Laudato Si’ Week, a global commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and ecology. After being invited to participate in Laudato Si’ Week by Pope Francis, Catholics have taken up the project to build a more just and sustainable future together. In the last month, 21 Catholic organizations with $40 billion in assets under management committed to invest in companies that align with their values by signing the Catholic Impact Investing Pledge

A full list of the 42 institutions divesting from fossil fuels and statements from leaders can be found here.

Statements from leaders:

Tomás Insua, executive director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said: “Every dollar invested in fossil fuels is a vote for suffering. These institutions are taking prophetic action to light the way towards a more just and sustainable future because now more than ever, we need to protect our communities and build a just recovery together.”

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah, said: “The decisions we make now will affect the future of humanity for thousands of years. These faith institutions are showing strong leadership in response to the climate crisis, and we urge governments around the world to follow their lead in ending support for fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.”

Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, World Council of Churches Deputy General Secretary said: “We reiterate the urgent concerns of Christians around the world in relation to climate change and its adverse effects on the whole of creation. The moral imperative of fossil fuel divestment and of investing in a low-carbon path to realizing economic, social, and ecological wellbeing and sustainability for the whole creation is more urgent than never.”

Rev Rachel Mash, Coordinator of Green Anglicans (Anglican Church of Southern Africa), said: “The COVID-19 crisis shows us that our current way of living is unsustainable, we are sick because the Earth is sick.  We cannot go back to normal, we must grow back to a new way of sustainable living. As we move into a post COVID-19 era, we must move away from sources of energy that contribute to climate change and air pollution.”

Reverend Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of Green Faith, said: “Extractive corporations, and the banks that finance them, are demanding government bailouts and the dismantling of environmental protections in the middle of a global pandemic and economic collapse. The idea that precious funds should bail out the world’s wealthiest corporations, not the people whose lives are at stake, is hard to fathom. This injustice is wrong. This is the time to rethink how we relate to one another and the earth. The religious groups announcing their divestment from fossil fuels today are stepping into the breach at a time when nothing is the same and everything has to change.”

Yossi Cadan, Global Finance Campaign Manager at 350.org, said: “Once again, faith groups continue to lead the way and clearly indicate to the rest of the world that any future investments or stimulus funds must exclude fossil fuels and yield long-term structural emissions reductions. The solutions to the economic crisis are the solutions to the climate crisis. The economic downturn must be an opportunity to accelerate the transition needed towards low- and zero-carbon. And any financial intervention, including investors, needs to put people and their livelihoods front and center.”

ENDS

Contact: james.buchanan@operationnoah.org, +44 7801 570 653

PRESS RELEASE: New report calls on Churches to urgently divest from fossil fuels

Posted in: News
Date posted: 6 May 2020

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Contact James Buchanan: 07801 570 653 / james.buchanan@operationnoah.org

Report available: https://bit.ly/2yviELm

Interviews available / Quote from Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams below

A new report from Operation Noah, the Christian climate change charity, is calling on Churches in the UK to urgently divest from fossil fuels in response to the climate emergency.

The report, ‘Church investments in major oil companies: Paris compliant or Paris defiant?’, shows the gap between the business plans of major oil companies and the Paris Agreement targets, which commits to limit global average temperature increases to well below 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels, and aims for 1.5°C.

The report draws on research from a variety of key sources, including Carbon Tracker’s Breaking the Habit report and the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) 2020 State of Transition Report, both of which demonstrate that none of the major oil companies are aligned with the Paris Agreement targets.

The report is published as several major oil companies are set to hold their AGMs, including Shell (Tuesday 19 May), BP and ExxonMobil (Wednesday 27 May) and Total (Friday 29 May). It shows that Shell and BP intend to increase oil and gas production by 38% and 20% respectively between 2018 and 2030, when global carbon emissions must fall by 55% by 2030 in order to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C, according to the 2019 UN Emissions Gap report.

The report highlights that Shell and BP plan to spend huge sums on exploration and extraction of new reserves between now and 2030 ($149 billion and $71 billion respectively), when scientists are warning that the majority of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground.

The report also draws attention to the fact that BP and Shell, which spend most among the major oil companies on lobbying against climate action, belong to trade associations such as the American Petroleum Institute that have successfully lobbied for weaker environmental regulation during the Covid-19 crisis. The report strengthens the calls for bailouts to support workers, but not oil and gas corporations.

Several UK Churches have already completed the process of divestment from fossil fuels, including Quakers in Britain, the Church of Ireland and the United Reformed Church. In others, such as the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church, Church bodies have made divestment recommendations, which should be acted on as a matter of urgency. Two Catholic dioceses in England and Wales have so far divested from fossil fuels, and the report calls on the remaining dioceses to join them – and 150 other Catholic institutions around the world – in making divestment commitments.

The 2017 Methodist Conference called for the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church to divest from oil and gas companies whose business investment plans were not aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2°C by 2020. In light of the research outlined, the report calls on the Methodist Church to divest from all fossil fuel companies now.

The Church of England General Synod in July 2018 voted to begin divestment in 2020 from oil and gas companies that are ‘not taking seriously their responsibilities’ in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and complete divestment from those not on track to align with the Paris Agreement by 2023. The report argues that none of the major oil companies are taking their responsibilities seriously, and the divestment process must begin now.

James Buchanan, Operation Noah’s Bright Now Campaign Manager, said: ‘All major oil companies continue to spend huge sums on the exploration and extraction of new fossil fuel reserves, as well as lobbying against climate action. The evidence is overwhelming that none of these companies are ‘Paris compliant’. We strongly encourage Churches to demonstrate moral leadership at this key moment in history by divesting from fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.’

Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘The current health crisis has highlighted as never before the need for coherent international action in the face of global threat. Can we learn the lesson and apply it to the global threat of climate change? To do so means taking practical and effective steps to reduce our lethal dependence on fossil fuels, and this report challenges the Churches to take these steps as a matter of urgency.’

Ends

Contact James Buchanan: james.buchanan@operationnoah.org or 07801 570 653

Notes for editors:

1. Operation Noah is a Christian charity working with the Church to inspire action on climate change. It works with all Christian denominations. http://operationnoah.org/

2. The report can be downloaded at: https://brightnow.org.uk/resource/church-investments-in-oil-paris-compliant-or-paris-defiant/.

3. The Methodist Conference in June 2017 called for the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church to divest from oil and gas companies whose business investment plans were not aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2°C by 2020. https://brightnow.org.uk/news/methodist-church-takes-step-closer-divestment/

4. The Church of England General Synod in July 2018 voted to begin divestment in 2020 from oil and gas companies that are ‘not taking seriously their responsibilities’ in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and to complete divestment from those not on track to align with the Paris Agreement by 2023. https://brightnow.org.uk/news/church-of-england-votes-for-fossil-fuel-divestment/

5. The American Petroleum Institute has lobbied for weaker environmental regulation during the Covid-19 crisis. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/17/polluter-bailouts-and-lobbying-during-covid-19-pandemic

6. Several European countries have recently spoken of the ‘duty’ of governments to build climate-resilient economies post Covid-19 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/28/un-chief-dont-use-taxpayer-money-to-save-polluting-industries

Operation Noah supports ‘Teach the Future’

Posted in: News
Date posted: 4 May 2020

As young people around the world have responded to the action initiated by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg with widespread school climate strikes, it has become increasingly clear that the climate crisis is a major concern for the young. They know that their education will have limited value in a world of the future if climate change is not tackled and here in the UK they are calling for the education system to inform them and prepare them.

At Operation Noah we recognise how important it is that young people have a voice on these issues and we are pleased to support the student-led campaign, Teach the Future.

Registered charity number 1138101