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

15

Dec

2014

The Church of England threatens to pull its investments from BP and Shell unless they take action to address climate change

Following the Church of England’s recent announcement that it will file two shareholder resolutions at the BP and Shell AGMs in 2015, the Church stated last week that it will consider disinvestment from these companies as a ‘last resort’ if they are unresponsive to the Church’s concerns.

Can the Church of England use its investments to change the business strategies of fossil fuel companies, or should it follow other Churches around the world in refusing to profit from, and provide finance to, the fossil fuel industry?

Under pressure from Christian campaigners to disinvest, the Church of England is pursuing an engagement strategy to encourage BP and Shell to take account of climate change. The Church is now filing two shareholder resolutions asking for information concerning the companies’ rating under the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Performance Leaders Index (CPLI), their resilience to the International Energy Agency’s post-35 scenarios, and their investment in low-carbon technology including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Operation Noah is pleased to see the Church considering these issues. However, we believe the Church must go further. We would like to know what criteria the Church of England will use to determine the effectiveness of their engagement, and the point at which a decision to disinvest would be taken. As fossil fuel companies continue to explore and extract ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels while our window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change grows smaller, when will it be time for the Church to use its ‘last resort’?

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20

Nov

2014

Where have we put our treasure?

Clare Bryden explores where our treasure lies in today’s world.

In a Resurgence article based on his latest book The Energy of Nations, Jeremy Leggett gives the history of four systemic risks in energy markets: climate change and the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground; the resulting carbon bubble in capital markets; corporate losses in US shale gas and oil production, which means the ‘boom’ may just be a bubble; and peak production of affordable oil.

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4

Nov

2014

Aligned!

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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15

Jul

2014

Irrational investment in fossil fuels

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

1

Jul

2014

Church Commissioners and Ethical Investment

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

30

Jun

2014

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