Following the speech given by the Archbishop of Canterbury this morning at the London Stock Exchange, Christian Aid has called on Church investors to divest from all fossil fuel companies.
Welcoming Justin Welby’s comments on the urgency of climate change and the need for rapid action to put the world on track to keep global temperature rise under control, Christian Aid’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Christine Allen, said:
“The Archbishop of Canterbury is right to describe climate change as “a genuinely existential threat” and call on the oil and gas majors to “step up ambition” today. I welcome the Church’s efforts to push companies towards ensuring their businesses are aligned with the targets of the Paris Agreement and a 1.5 degree future
“But the reality is that oil and gas companies are moving much too slowly, and are even betting against the world taking decisive action to stop climate change. People living on the front lines can no longer wait. Church investors need to send a stronger signal that they will no longer stand for the foot-dragging of the fossil fuel industry.
“Other churches, such as those of Ireland, Sweden and Southern Africa have made a stand and refused to profit from the suffering of the world’s poor. The Church of England is part of the global Anglican Communion, which is so often a beacon of love, community and hope. With brothers and sisters in some of the places most vulnerable to climate change, the time has come to demonstrate that the Church cares more about these people than profit.”
On Sunday, General Synod will debate an amendment from the Diocese of Oxford calling on Church investors to divest from fossil fuel companies that do not align their business plans with the targets of the Paris Agreement by 2020.
Ms Allen added: "The Church has so far taken an investor engagement approach to fossil fuel companies, yet this has had limited success. The time, has come to be free of fossil fuel holdings as companies so fully invested in fossil fuel production are not making fundamental changes fast enough. The church’s engagement efforts could be more fruitfully spent on those sectors that consume fossil fuels rather than produce them, in order to achieve the necessary change in behaviour and business models that will benefit those who face the daily reality of climate change.”