Power Point Presentation

The Church’s response to
climate change:
What part do Church
investments play?
Human-induced climate change
 The earth’s atmosphere is
warming at an alarming
 Overwhelming scientific
consensus is that the cause
is human activity – primarily
burning of fossil fuels.
 Internationally,
governments have agreed
to limit the rise in average
global temperature to
below 2 degrees Celsius.
Impacts of climate change
 Impacts are already being
experienced around the
world; often affecting
poorer communities most
 Impacts include famines,
droughts, severe floods,
extreme weather, fires,
heat waves, disease, and
migration of populations.
A call to the Church to respond
Operation Noah’s Ash
Wednesday Declaration:
 Challenges the Church to
realise that care for God’s
creation and concern about
climate change is foundational
to the Christian gospel and
central to the Church’s mission.
 Calls for urgent action and a
change of direction across all
levels of the Church.
 Was launched in 2012 and
signed by notable church
leaders across denominations.
Bright Now
The Bright Now campaign was launched by Operation Noah in
September 2013. The campaign calls on the Churches and the
Christian community in the UK to:
 disinvest from companies involved in the extraction of fossil
 take a leading and influential role in public debate on the ethics
of investment in fossil fuels; and
 support the development of clean alternatives to fossil fuels
through their investment policies.
Fossil Free
A global fossil fuel divestment movement
 Initiated by 350.org in the
USA and now spreading
across Australia, New
Zealand, Canada and
 Targeting universities and
colleges, religious
institutions and civic
Do the Maths
Key numbers we cannot afford to ignore:
 2 degrees Celsius = limit of safe global warming.
 565 gigatons = equivalent carbon dioxide emissions
to give 50% chance of staying below 20C warming.
 2795 gigatons = equivalent carbon dioxide emissions
of known worldwide fossil fuel reserves.
 Therefore, 80% or more of known fossil fuel reserves
cannot be burned!
Church showing moral leadership:
 Disinvestment sends a powerful message to investors and
fund managers, the companies themselves, governments
and the general public that investing in fossil fuels is
no longer ethical.
 Disinvestment movements have historically influenced
social change – apartheid, tobacco, etc.
 Church disinvestment would push governments to adopt
stronger regulations to address climate change.
 The Church has a great opportunity to demonstrate moral
leadership and can be a powerful voice for change.
Campaign report
This comprehensive report
outlines the moral,
theological, scientific and
financial rationale for why
disinvesting from fossil
fuels is an urgent issue for
UK Churches.
Church denominations have made
commitments to address climate change
National Church bodies hold substantial
investments in major fossil fuel
Methodist Church in Britain
 £58 million
Church of England
 £60 million
Progress in the Church of England
Motion to General Synod on
climate change
 Southwark Diocese put forward
a Motion in July 2013 urging the
Church to respond more fully to
climate change.
 The Ethical Investment Advisory
Group is currently undertaking a
review of ethical investment
policy with regard to climate
 Climate change was debated at
General Synod in February 2014.
Outcome of climate change
 The Motion was passed with
strong support – 274 in favour: 1
 It calls upon the national investing
bodies to ensure that investment
policy (including the option of
disinvestment) is aligned with the
theological, moral and social
priorities of the Church.
 A General Synod working group on
the Environment is to be set up to
monitor this.
Quakers in Britain commit to
disinvest from fossil fuels
 In autumn 2013 Quakers in Britain announced the
decision to disinvest from fossil fuels.
 The decision was backed by overwhelming support
from Quakers at their annual meeting.
 Quakers in Britain are the first UK institution to make
a commitment to disinvest from fossil fuels.
Other Churches already moving
United Church of New South Wales/ACT (Australia)
Uniting Church of Christ (USA)
Unitarian Church of Australia
5 New Zealand Anglican Dioceses
Investor engagement: is it effective?
 The Church Investors Group’s stated position is to
engage with companies to report their carbon
emissions and adopt emissions reduction schemes –
the Carbon Disclosure Project.
 Operation Noah believes that a policy of influencing
fossil fuel companies through investor engagement is
no longer appropriate.
 Fossil fuel companies show no intention of switching
away from their core business model.
Current business model does not
support a viable future for the planet
 Top 200 fossil fuel companies spent almost $700
billion in the last 12 months on finding and developing
new fossil fuel reserves.
 Known fossil fuel reserves worldwide already far
exceed what can be safely burned in order to limit
global warming to below 2⁰C.
 Around 80% of known reserves cannot be burned and
need to remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic
climate change.
Hydraulic fracturing for gas in USA
Oil extraction in West Africa
Open cast coal in China
Tar shale oil in Canada
Can fossil fuel companies be ethical?
Criteria for an ‘ethical’ fossil fuel company:
 Have diversification strategies away from fossil fuels
 Have strategies to avoid exploiting full potential of
existing reserves
 Not exploit new fossil fuel reserves
 Invest in carbon capture and storage
 Work within safe limits for global carbon emissions.
Investments in fossil fuels: risky or
 Financial experts are warning of the increasing
financial risks of continuing to invest in fossil fuels.
 Evidence shows that investment portfolios that do
not include oil, gas and coal perform better.
 Shareholders risk being left with stranded assets –
worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent
from being burned (referred to as the ‘carbon
UN climate chief calls on investors to pull
their money out of fossil fuel funds
‘The continued and dangerous rise in greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere is in large part the direct result of past
investments in energy and mobility systems based on the
use of fossil fuels. New investments must now assist in
reversing this unsustainable trend, and quickly if the
world is to have a chance of staying under a 20C
temperature rise.’
Christiana Figueres, UN climate chief
Quotes from supporters
‘Churchgoers need to wake up to
the importance of climate justice.
It’s not just an environmental
issue – it’s a social justice issue.’
‘This is about the Christian
commitment to care and loving
our neighbour. It requires the
Churches to tackle root causes of
climate change.’
‘Disinvestment is a crucial part of
the struggle to refocus our
‘It’s time for people of faith all
around the world to show
leadership and take crucial steps
to avoid catastrophic climate
‘Churches of the UK can have a
real impact.’
‘Is investment in fossil fuels just
as unethical as investing in arms,
tobacco and alcohol? Bright Now
has convinced me that it is.’
Supporting the fossil free movement:
What can you do?
 Sign the online petition.
 Raise awareness of the issues in your church
community and with local and regional church
 Raise the issue through official Church channels –
work on putting forward a motion on fossil fuel
 Write to those with responsibility for investment
policy in the Church.
Information and campaign resources
For further information and resources see the following

similar documents