31

Jan

2019

Could your church join the Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches?

 

Today, we are launching the next joint divestment announcement for local churches, which will take place on Easter Tuesday (23 April), and are inviting churches of all denominations to join us. Read on to find out how you can get involved.

Image credit: Mark Stedman

This Lent, why not ask your local church to make a divestment commitment and add its name to the Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches? This is a powerful action that your local church can take to build support for fossil fuel divestment in your wider Church denomination, ensuring that investments are shifted out of the problem and into the solution.

As a first step, you could speak with your church minister or treasurer, and ask if the issue could be discussed at your next church council or PCC meeting. You could bring a copy of the Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches with you (see text below), and ask if your local church would be willing to sign. This would have a particularly big impact in the United Reformed Church, Church of Scotland and Baptist Union, all of which look set to consider their fossil fuel investments in the coming year.

Since our last local church divestment campaign during the Season of Creation, a lot has happened in the world of climate change.

A week after we announced that three more churches had joined the growing fossil-free movement, the UN’s expert panel on climate change (the IPCC) released its latest report.

The much-anticipated paper spelled out the huge difference in impact between a global temperature rise of 1.5°C compared with 2°C, warning that the world may have just 12 years left before we exceed the lower, safer limit.

And if the urgency of tackling climate change wasn’t clear enough already, a new study published this month in the science journal, Nature, found that “if we built no more fossil fuel infrastructure and instead replaced existing infrastructure at the end of its productive life with a zero carbon alternative we could limit peak temperature rise to 1.5°C – as long as we start now.”

Meanwhile, fossil fuel companies are exploring for yet more reserves, refusing to invest sufficiently in clean alternatives, and in many cases obstructing the energy transition further by lobbying against climate action.

That’s why an increasing number of institutions (now more than 1,000 worldwide, with more than £6 trillion in assets) are choosing to move their money out of the fossil fuel industry.

With former UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, declaring 2020 a pivotal year for addressing climate change, in which global emissions must peak and fall year-on-year to arrive at ‘net-zero’ by around 2050, now is the time to divest.

How can I encourage my church to divest?

If you are thinking of raising the issue of divestment in your church, our step-by-step guide, Divest your church, will run you through what’s involved, providing examples of churches which have already divested successfully.

Even if your church doesn’t currently hold any investments in fossil fuels, it can still send out a powerful message by pledging not to invest in fossil fuels in the future.

You could also talk to friends and family members in other churches, encouraging them to support divestment too.

Get involved

We hope your church will be able to join our next divestment announcement on Easter Tuesday (23 April) and would be delighted to hear from you if you have any questions.

To find out more or express your interest, please email James Buchanan on james.buchanan@operationnoah.org

For a detailed look at the ethical, financial and scientific case for fossil fuel divestment, please see our Fossil Free Churches report.

Text of the Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches

As we celebrate the joy of the risen Christ this Easter, we the undersigned wish for our investments to be a sign of hope, contributing to the flourishing of God’s creation, both now and for generations to come.

We support the campaign for fossil free Churches and, conscious of the impact of climate change on our sisters and brothers around the world – especially those living in poverty – we recognise the urgency of the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives and ensure a brighter, cleaner future for all.

Our church/Christian organisation, [insert name here], therefore commits to divest any existing fossil fuel investments within the next five years (for churches with existing fossil fuel investments) and pledges not to invest in fossil fuels in the future.

Signed,

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