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22 November 2022: Churches have a vital role to play in accelerating the transition to net zero emissions, according to ‘Church Investment in Climate Solutions: Financing a Liveable Future’ – a new report from Operation Noah relevant to climate campaigners and faith investors.
The UN estimates that religious institutions manage a combined $3 trillion (£2.5 trillion) of investments globally. Faith institutions invest not only for financial returns, but also to live out their ethics and values. As this new report recognises, some UK faith groups such as the Quakers in Britain, the Church of Ireland, the Diocese of Truro and the Church of England’s Church Commissioners for England are now doing just that by investing in climate solutions.
The report reiterates the finding that if the world were to redirect the $570 billion of annual planned oil and gas investments towards renewables, this could fully finance wind and solar expansion in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement – a target that, while still possible, is quickly slipping away as earlier this month the UN warned that the world is currently headed for a catastrophic 2.8°C rise in average temperatures if emissions do not begin to fall rapidly.
Operation Noah’s report identifies opportunities for investment in climate solutions, including:
Not only are there huge economic benefits to be gained from investing in renewable energy, but a recent University of Oxford study found that switching to renewables could save the world as much as £10.2 trillion by 2050, while every pound spent on renewables generates three times more jobs than fossil fuel investments – something most UK Churches no longer have.
Operation Noah will hold a 22 November webinar at 19.00 GMT examining the report’s findings with Julia Corcoran and James Buchanan (Operation Noah); Lorna Gold (Director of Movement Building at FaithInvest and Chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement); John O’Shaughnessy (Chief Financial Officer at the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and Co-Chair of the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative); Mike Sturgess (Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance in the Diocese of Truro); and Stephen Trew (member of the Church of Ireland General Synod and campaigner).
Endorsements for ‘Church Investment in Climate Solutions: Financing a Liveable Future’
Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans in the Church of England’s Diocese of Truro, which recently invested £1.75 million in climate solutions: ‘The choices we make about finance and investment both describe and shape the future we want to see. If the Church is serious about cherishing creation and getting to net zero, we need to align our finances to that goal. This report is an important and practical encouragement towards that alignment.’
Rachel Lampard, Former Vice-President of the Methodist Conference: ‘To avoid climate disaster, we need systemic change – and this means that investors need to be thinking differently. This report makes a vital contribution to this urgent conversation.’
Revd Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator, Anglican Church of Southern Africa: ‘For the Global South, the climate crisis is not a future threat but a current lived-catastrophe. What must Churches in wealthier nations do, recognising that these economies have been built on energy sources that have destabilised the climate? Africa suffers from energy poverty and the only way out is through decentralised renewable energy. New fossil fuel projects will trap Africa in decades of debt, stranded assets, environmental pollution and human rights abuses. This timely and practical report gives clear suggestions for how the Church can mobilise its investments to respond to the climate crisis.’
Martin Palmer, CEO of FaithInvest: ‘To achieve the scale of investments necessary to turn the market towards a sustainable world and away from climate and biodiversity disaster, faith institutions have to take up the challenge of putting their money where their mouths are! And Churches in the UK have the resources to do this. Can we hope that it will also increase the actions necessary to help tip the balance? This report is a prophetic witness.’
Anne Schankin, Director at Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative: ‘The scale of the climate crisis challenges faith communities to boldly deploy their investable assets in service of people and planet. This excellent report provides an accurate picture of the climate crisis and, with hope, offers solutions and steps on how to begin, along with stories of organisations implementing positive, impactful investing strategies. I hope it will encourage many others to take action, so that together we can courageously build a more just and sustainable future, truly reflective of our faith values.’