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Group calls for Church to disinvest

27 September 2013


A NEW survey of Anglicans has found a confusing set of attitudes to the Church's policy on fossil fuels.

While 63 per cent of those questioned believe that the Church should take a leading part in addressing man-made climate change, only one in four believes that it should abandon its investments in energy companies that are expanding fossil-fuel reserves.

And while more than nine out of ten churchgoers of all denominations said that churches should invest their money ethically, a significant proportion were confused about what this meant.

The survey of 1520 churchgoers across several denominations was carried out by Christian Research for the climate-change campaigning group Operation Noah.

Two of the Church of England's top five corporate investments are in BP and Shell. Other denominations also have large amounts invested in the fossil-fuel industry.

The head of Operation Noah's new disinvestment campaign, Bright Now, Mark Letcher, said: "There is a clear gap between official church policy on climate change, and church investments in fossil-fuel companies; but church leaders are living in a fool's paradise if they think they can meet their policy commitments to preventing catastrophic changes to the climate system, whilst investing in companies seeking expansion in fossil-fuel reserves."

The survey also reports that, while churchgoers want to see investments made ethically, climate change is not a priority issue for them. Other questions, such as those around women bishops, were seen by respondents as more important.

Isabel Carter, who chairs Operation Noah, said that the discrepancy found in the survey showed the need for leadership. "We believe Christians should start debating climate change with the same intensity and scrutiny they give to issues such as freedom of speech or same-sex marriage."

Her group is calling on the Christian community to disinvest from companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels, and to support the development of clean alternatives.

NZ dioceses disinvest. Last weekend, the dioceses of Wellington and Waiapu voted to sell all their investments in companies that extract or produce fossil fuels, despite being told that it could affect funds for parish investments. The diocese of Auckland passed a similar resolution earlier this month.


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