Faith groups divest from fossil fuels and call for green COVID-19 recovery

More than 40 faith institutions have today jointly announced plans to divest from fossil fuels and called on governments to ensure a low-carbon economic response to COVID-19.

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This is the largest-ever joint divestment from fossil fuels announced by faith groups. UK-based signatories comprise Methodist, Baptist, Catholic and Anglican institutions, among others, with over £1.1bn in assets under management.

This includes the Oasis Churches and Global Charity, Jesuits in Britain, the Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, three United Reformed Church (URC) Synods, four Quaker meetings, three Methodist churches, and Westminster College Cambridge.

Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, World Council of Churches deputy general secretary, said: “We reiterate the urgent concerns of Christians around the world in relation to climate change and its adverse effects on the whole of creation. 

“The moral imperative of fossil fuel divestment and of investing in a low-carbon path to realising economic, social, and ecological wellbeing and sustainability for the whole creation is more urgent than ever.”

A total of 42 faith institutions from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain, the UK, and the US today announced their divestment plans.

This includes the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, based in Bangladesh, which is home to world's largest refugee camp, where more than half a million people live near the storm-prone Bay of Bengal.

A viral pandemic and a catastrophic storm would bring this vulnerable community to a halt, illustrating the need to repair the faults that have left economies near the breaking point. 

This comes after a report from the charity Operation Noah earlier this month showed that none of the major oil companies are compliant with the Paris Agreement targets. 

James Buchanan, Bright Now campaign manager at Operation Noah, said: “The decisions we make now will affect the future of humanity for thousands of years. 

“These faith institutions are showing strong leadership in response to the climate crisis, and we urge governments around the world to follow their lead in ending support for fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.”

A full list of the 42 institutions divesting from fossil fuels and statements from leaders can be found here.


Image credit: Bokani Tshidzu


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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