Friday, May 22, 2015

Church of England cut its investment in fossil fuel companies

To address the issues of climate change, one of the world's wealthiest religious institutions, the Church of England is to sell of investments in coal and tar sands.

The withdrawal from the most polluting fossil fuels such as coal burnt for energy and oil from tar sands is a success for campaigners suggesting institutions to get out of such investments. Different church dioceses worldwide follow the divestment.

The lead bishop on the environment at the Church of England, Bishop Nick Holtam states that climate change is the most pressing moral issue in our world.

Deputy Chair of the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) Richard Burridge claims that climate change is already a reality, and the Church has a "moral responsibility" to speak and act on environmental issues to protect the poor, who are the most vulnerable to climate change.

Burridge added that this responsibility involves not only the Church's own move to reduce their own carbon footprint, but also how the Church's money is invested and how they engage with companies on this vital issue.

The Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board announced in a statement that the institution is to sell £12m in holdings in thermal coal and tar sands.

It said no direct investments should be made in any company where over ten percent of revenues come from extracting thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.

Furthermore, the Church of England's national investing bodies on ethical investment - the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England funds, are to increase their low-carbon investments, and it will engage with companies and policy makers ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Director of Investments at the Church Commissioners Tom Joy said that they need governments meetings in Paris at the end of this year to agree long term global emissions targets with a clear pathway to a low carbon future.

The Church of England announced last December that it was in the process of filing shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

The owner of approximately £9 billion in investments that fund its work and clergy pensions, the institution previously led a shareholder push to urge oil and gas giant British Petroleum (BP) to be more open about how climate change might affect its business.

The announcement comes before Pope Francis' release of an encyclical setting out Roman Catholic doctrine on environmental issues, which is likely to make waves on the global warming debate.

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