Climate Change

Both science and faith: Church of England selling stakes in oil, gas companies over lack of climate action

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Published

June 27, 2023

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Published:

June 27, 2023

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The Church of England is selling its investments in fossil fuel companies because they have failed to do enough to tackle climate change. The church announced that it intends to divest its holdings in the remaining 11 oil and gas companies in its investment portfolio by the end of 2023.

The latest move affects giants such as Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil, but the Church of England already excluded 20 major oil and gas companies from its portfolio in 2021, according to reports.

The divestment is based on a motion by the General Synod from 2018, which set the 2023 deadline to pull out of companies failing to take sufficient action to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Church of England has long urged companies to take climate change seriously

“We have long urged companies to take climate change seriously, and specifically to align with the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” said Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, adding that “some progress has been made, but not nearly enough.”

“The church will follow not just the science, but our faith — both of which call us to work for climate justice. The climate crisis threatens the planet we live on, and people around the world who Jesus Christ calls us to love as our neighbors,” said Welby.

The church has been vocal in discussions over climate despite its small holdings in oil and gas

The Church of England is a small investor in oil and gas, and its holdings account for less than 1% of its GBP 10.3 billion endowment fund and some GBP 7 million of its GBP 3.2 billion pension fund. However, it has played a significant role in discussions with companies over climate change.

Catholic Church has also urged climate action

In recent years, other religious leaders, including Pope Francis, have called for a more urgent response to climate change, including a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Also, the Vatican has proposed fossil fuel divestment as an option for Catholic institutions on several occasions, according to Earthbeat. The website also notes that not many Catholic institutions have done so, but that the Vatican Bank stated in 2020 that it had no investments in fossil fuels.

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