Source: Operation Noah
In the latest challenge to the fossil fuel industry’s dangerous expansion plans and increasingly empty climate rhetoric, 35 religious institutions from seven countries – including five Church of England dioceses, two Catholics in the UK and a Church of England cathedral – today announced their divestment from fossil fuel companies. In total, 19 of the 35 divested institutions are from the UK.
Organized by Operation Noah, the Laudato Si’ Movement, the World Council of Churches, Green Anglicans and GreenFaith, this latest divestment announcement comes from faith-based institutions in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, UK and the United States.
Institutions that divest from fossil fuels include two Catholic dioceses (the Diocese of Leeds and the Archdiocese of Armagh); 11 Catholic religious orders (including the Friars Minor in Britain, the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth Generalate, the Jesuits in the Eastern Province of the United States and the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in the United States); five Church of England dioceses (Birmingham, Durham, Leicester, Newcastle and Worcester); a Church of England cathedral (Leicester Cathedral); the Catholic Theological Society of America; and two Jesuit universities in the United States.
Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Ecology Sector Coordinator at the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, which supports Pope Francis’ work on the environment, said: “In 2020, the Vatican has called on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies given their damage to the environment. I applaud those prophetic institutions that are divesting today and I encourage every institution in the world to reduce our dependence on these harmful energy sources by divesting from fossil fuels. This is how prophetic institutions can live our values and help the most vulnerable among us. If we are to achieve peace and ensure a liveable planet for all, including future generations, we must end our dependence on the fossil fuels that fuel the current climate crisis.
Rt Revd Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds, said: “We have now divested of the few remaining investments in fossil fuel businesses. As we continue to strive for realistic, achievable and incremental goals specific to the needs and within the context of our local ecology, we are also respectful of the global environment. The concern for our Common Home is woven into our life as a Diocesan Family, not only do we proclaim ‘Laudato Si’!’ with our words, but give Him also glory in all our actions!”
The International Energy Agency and the UN have warned against new fossil fuel projects anywhere in the world, as scientists say we cannot safely burn the vast majority of fossil fuels still in the world. floor. Yet just nine months after world leaders pledged to “keep 1.5 alive” at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, 20 fossil fuel companies – including Shell, Total, BP and ExxonMobil – are going forward with fossil fuel expansion plans totaling $932 billion that would push the world beyond 1.5°C of heating. Meanwhile, governments including the US, Canada, UK, Norway and Australia continue to approve new fossil fuel developments that will put 1.5°C out of reach.
Faith leaders call for action. Earlier this year, more than 500 UK church leaders, including 68 Catholic and Anglican bishops and some of the UK’s largest Christian non-governmental organisations, called on the UK government to stop all new fossil fuel development. Last week, the Methodist Church in Britain endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the Church of Scotland called for no more fossil fuel extraction.
A growing number of Catholic institutions are cutting ties with the fossil fuel industry: 9 out of 22 Catholic dioceses in England and Wales have now disengaged from fossil fuels. Last October, ahead of COP26, the Scottish Conference of Catholic Bishops and all Catholic dioceses in Scotland announced their divestment.
Most major Christian denominations in the UK have now fully disengaged from fossil fuels, with the notable exceptions of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church of England. James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Director at Operation Noah, said: “Today, religious institutions around the world are making a bold and powerful statement that it is unethical to invest in an industry that fuels climate, conflict and the cost of… While 20 fossil fuel companies, including BP, Shell, Exxon and Total, plan to spend nearly $1 trillion on new fossil fuel developments that the Secretary-General calls on the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales to choose life, divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in clean energy that will resolve the multiple crises we face.
A full list of institutions that divest from fossil fuels and quotes from leaders are available at: https://brightnow.org.uk/