Faith institutions reach £9 trillion divestment milestone

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Renewable energy credit ALDECA studio FotoliaThe United Reformed Church (URC) has joined a coalition of faith institutions to announce its divestment from fossil fuels, as the Financing the Future summit – devoted to accelerating investment in a clean economy – gets underway in Cape Town.

Fossil fuel divestment now comes from institutions with £9 trillion in assets, institutions with assets of around £40 billion just five years ago.

According to The Global Catholic Climate Movement, Operation Noah, Greenfaith, and the Green Anglicans, faith institutions constitute the greatest number of entities contributing to the global divestment movement.

The Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill, Moderators of the URC General Assembly, said: “Fossil fuel divestment is a practical way in which the United Reformed Church is responding to the climate emergency. We are taking this step in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world who are most affected by the climate crisis, despite having done the least to cause it. Therefore, it is only right that we actively move to support renewable sources of energy instead.”

In total, 22 organisations make up the coalition. Along with the URC nationally, its Synod in Wessex and Beulah URC in Cardiff, a number of Catholic institutions from around the world, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and a local Church of England congregation are included. A full list of the 22 institutions can be found here.

In addition to divestment within the Christian community, Muslim authorities in the United States and Canada have issued a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, on fossil fuels. The fatwa calls on Islamic investment managers to develop fossil-free investment vehicles and on individual Muslims to invest in renewable energy.

The announcement comes during the Season of Creation, a global celebration of prayer and action for the environment, and is made just days after Pope Francis said that “now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy”.

Picture: Renewable energy and sustainable development/ALDECAstudio/Fotolia
Published: 12 September 2019

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