Church of England makes investment statement on climate change

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The BBC reports today that the Church of England

is to sell its shares in oil and gas firms that fail to do enough to tackle climate change.

It will pull its investment out of firms not on track to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change by 2023.

The General Synod, the church’s parliament, voted 347 to four in favour of the symbolic move.

The Church of England said the vote made it clear that “the church must play a leading role on the urgent issue of climate change”.

The first proposed deadline was 2020, but the church moved that back to “‘push for real change,'” though there is disagreement as to whether it will in fact accomplish that.

Ahead of the vote, David Walker, deputy chair of the Church Commissioners, the body which manages the Church’s investments, had said selling its investments in gas and oil firms by 2020 would leave its strategy and influence “in tatters”.

“It would not spur companies to change further and faster. It would do the exact opposite; it would take the pressure off them,” he said at the time.

The new rule will apply to the Church Commissioners’ £8.3bn investment fund, as well as a £2.3bn retirement fund overseen by the pensions board and a further £2bn of other Church of England funds.

The Church Commissioners had around £123m invested in oil and gas firms at the end of last year.

 

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