The Anglican Diocese of Southwark passed a resolution yesterday calling on the General Synod of the Church of England to consider disinvestment from fossil fuels.
Welcoming the resolution Mark Letcher of Operation Noah said: “We are delighted that Southwark has passed this resolution. The Church must be consistent in word and deed. Global reserves of fossil fuels far exceed that which can be burned without triggering catastrophic damage to the climate system. Yet companies such as BP and Shell continue to invest billions in the development of new reserves of fossil fuels in the sure knowledge that these will push us far beyond the 2 degree C warming threshold”.
The resolution proposed by Canon Giles Goddard and Bishop David Atkinson, responds to calls for the Church of England to disinvest completely on ethical grounds from companies extracting fossil fuels, and to develop a climate friendly investment portfolio.
The resolution and background document draws attention to a proposal in the Church of England’s seven-year plan on climate change and the environment that the Church disinvest from fossil fuels by 2020. This proposal will now go forward for debate at the General Synod of the Church of England.
At the Southwark Diocese Synod yesterday April Alexander – on behalf of the Church Commissioners – revealed that the Church of England has reduced its investments in oil and gas by 62% on financial rather than ethical grounds over the past three years. This is part of a strategy to move funds from volatile holdings into more stable investments.
Meanwhile the Church of England is seeking to invest in less damaging alternatives to oil and gas, such as those offered by Generation Investment Management LLP, founded by Al Gore and David Blood in which the Church is reported to have invested £230 million.
Mark Letcher added: “A growing number of financial institutions are demonstrating that it is possible to make a profit while avoiding the fossil fuel sector”.
Later this year Operation Noah will launch a national campaign calling on UK Churches to disinvest from the fossil fuel sector.