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The EIAG and policy on fossil fuels

by
20 December 2013

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From the Revd Michael Roberts
Sir, - It was with a high degree of concern that I filled in the survey from the Ethical Investment Advisory Group on fossil-fuel disinvestment (News, 13 December). I thought the questions were over the top, but totally logical as an outworking of disinvestment. If Operation Noah is offended by the survey, so much the worse for it, for several reasons.

First, I presume that it has the courage of its convictions and that its members use no fossil fuels, whether for transport, heating, or manufacture. I would like to know how the members travel around, heat their homes, and cook.

Second, whether we like it or not (and I don't), we shall have to use fossil fuels for many decades, possibly into the 22nd century. That is also the view of Friends of the Earth.

Third, to disinvest takes away the Churches' input into fossil-fuel firms.

Fourth, action like this would not be prophetic, but ultimately is rather silly, and not grounded in the real world. It will weaken the Churches' witness in many spheres, especially over the environment.

We live in a world in which creation has been damaged by human misuse, as in climate change, pollution, the exhaustion of natural resources, and the damage of land through farming or deforestation. The Church will not help the environment with so-called prophetic acts like this.

Perhaps the way forward is to realise that we are stuck with fossil fuels, and to use our influence on fossil-fuel firms, and to encourage all to use all resources wisely.

MICHAEL ROBERTS
35 Worcester Avenue
Garstang PR3 1FJ

From Mr George Reiss
Sir, - The Stern report was clear that investing in measures to slow down climate change could be profitable, generate jobs, and help the environment, all at the same time. We have been given a fruitful world with resources sufficient for all without pilfering the inheritance of the younger generation.

Criticism of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group's (EIAG's) clumsy consultation on allowing the C of E's funds to add to climate change was entirely justified. The online survey was a little like being asked to choose between voting for despotism and and sliding into poverty. There are in fact other alternatives. I was taken aback at how poorly the questions were chosen and phrased. If the survey reflects the quality of the EIAG's thinking, then the group badly needs better advice.

Operation Noah correctly picked up on the inadequate information and leading questions within the survey, but the EIAG also polarised the story into pensions v. environment. Common sense tells us that if we neglect our stewardship of the earth then our pensions will suffer, too. The EIAG only has to look in the newspaper to see that there are good financial returns to be made from investing in environmentally friendly ways.

We need a better-informed and balanced offering from those who help put the Church's money to work.

GEORGE REISS
41A Sandy Lane
Tettenhall
Wolverhampton WV6 9EB

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