Keep fossil fuels fossilised!

Do you have a private pension or some saving put away for a rainy day? Even if we don’t realise it lots of our money is invested in fossil fuel companies and they have delivered good returns to investors for decades now.

Most charities, all the major denominations and many individual churches have reserves invested in stocks and shares and, for years, oil, coal and gas companies have been a safe part of their portfolios. That is changing. A big part of the market value of these companies is the reserves stored in the ground – oil fields not yet drilled, or coal seams not yet mined (like the one in Cumbria). As the world switches away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources those reserves will become “stranded assets” i.e., companies won’t be able to sell the fuel stored in them because of their carbon emissions which means the companies will lose value.

Operation Noah is a campaign encouraging all churches to “divest” from fossil fuels. That means selling their shares in these companies. We want churches to do that because it is the right thing to do to help us on our journey to getting our greenhouse gas emissions down, but it also makes financial sense.

Many denominations have completely abandoned fossil fuel investments now and the Church of England is well on the way. It has set itself a target of being carbon neutral by 2030 which is very ambitious. If it is to do that, we need every church to take action locally but we also need to make sure the church decarbonises its collective investments.

The Methodist Church and 15 Anglican dioceses have already divested from fossil fuels. Derby Diocese has said it will no longer make new investments in fossil fuel companies, but we need it to join the other 15 by selling its current investments. So do talk to your friends and neighbours who go to church about this issue. If you attend a church talk to your church council or leader. Make your voice heard so they can carry the message up through the church decision making bodies that we want church money to be invested in doing good rather than in damaging our planet. Individually and as institutions we should be moving our investments into businesses that are committed to things like clean energy, fair trade, sustainable manufacturing and durable, repairable products. Its our money. Let’s make it work for our planet.

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