Blog: Opinion Archives - Page 2 of 5 - Bright Now





Decision by Swedish Pension fund to drop fossil fuel companies shows financial and ethical considerations are now aligned and puts onus on Churches to demonstrate prudence.

Nearly 50 Churches and faith-based organisations around the world have now decided to disinvest from fossil fuel companies. They have done so for compelling theological, moral and scientific reasons. They are aware that climate change is already here and will intensify rapidly, hurting in particular poor communities in geographically vulnerable regions.

Maybe these organisations have also been aware of the financial reasons for disinvestment – that the fossil fuel companies are continuing to invest heavily in finding new reserves, despite the evidence that, if we are going to keep the increase in global warming below 2 degrees centigrade, over half of the world’s known reserves will have to be left untouched in the earth. This evidence has recently been endorsed by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England.

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Irrational investors

Leonard Beighton wonders why Churches haven't divested from fossil fuels already given the financial risks and poor returns.

Operation Noah very rightly concentrates on drawing attention to the reasons from faith and science for promoting disinvestment by the Churches from fossil fuels. But it is arguably surprising that it should be necessary for it to do so. Sophisticated institutional investors – and it is to be hoped that the financial assets of the Churches are looked after by sophisticated people – should already be disinvesting from fossil fuels for financial reasons before the bubble bursts and the market crashes spectacularly when it takes on board the extent of the likely changes in the energy markets over the next decade. Read more




Church Commissioners and Ethical Investment

Disinvest to reinvest

The Church Commissioners have celebrated the “best” results for their investment fund in eight years (News, 30 May). We are told that, after Government Treasury Bonds, their next biggest stock-exchange holdings were in Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone, HSBC, and BP. So much for ethical investment!

It is bad enough to have substantial investments in a bank that has recently paid hundreds of millions in fines to US regulators for money laundering and in a company that saved billions of tax in a sweetheart deal with HM Revenue and Customs. Worse still are the large holdings in oil companies. Read more




Doctors’ divestment exposes Churches’ ‘never’ regions

The vote by members of the British Medical Association to divest from fossil fuel companies leaves UK Churches with stakes in oil, coal and gas, and those who say ‘never’ to disinvestment, looking exposed.

The decision at the BMA’s annual meeting in Harrogate on 25th June, follows an editorial in the British Medical Journal earlier this year which called for divestment. It is backed by the Climate and Health Council, as well as health charities Medact and Healthy Planet UK. Read more




Building the will for action

'At this moment in history, we have catapulted ourselves to a crossroads of two possible paths for mankind. The direction we take cannot result from inertia but rather intentional choice. This choice will be informed by our technology, our financial systems and our policy, but it must also be indisputably steered by the overarching moral compass innate to all of us.' Christiana Figueres

The queue, snaking its way outside St Paul’s at 5.30pm on Wednesday last week, reminded me of other similar occasions, often at opportune moments in time. Over 1000 people turned up to listen to Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The evening was chaired very effectively by retired Bishop James Jones. Read more




Deflating the carbon bubble

‘Rethink what fiduciary responsibility means in this changing world. It’s simple self-interest. Every company, investor and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risk is simply being pragmatic.’ Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank

Our financial system has gone through a variety of bubbles: the real estate bubble, the commodity bubble, the dot-com bubble. There’s a new one, one that is more or less literally hanging over our heads. The carbon bubble. Read more