In May, 42 institutions in 14 countries announced their commitment to drop fossil fuels – the largest-ever joint announcement of divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions.
The multi-faith announcement came from institutions in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain, the UK, and the United States.
The group includes the Jesuits in Britain, which divested its £400 million ($517.5 million) equity portfolio from fossil fuels in February 2020, plus Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and Buddhist institutions, among others.
Mark Campanale, founder and executive chair of Carbon Tracker, an independent think tank that analyses the financial impact of an energy transition, said, ‘A comprehensive economic recovery means taking the long view, investing now in infrastructure that will serve communities for years to come. Fossil fuels do not have a place in the long-term health of humanity. Faith institutions’ commitment to create a better world is leadership that governments should follow.’
‘A breath of hope’
An Operation Noah report, published in May 2020, showed that none of the major oil companies are compliant with the Paris agreement targets.
‘The Vatican’s call for divestment is a breath of hope in times when faith is more needed than ever. It is also one of the handful of great moments in this decade-long campaign. It is a powerful statement that attempting to profit off the destruction of the planet is plainly and simply immoral and unethical.’
Author and founder of 350.org
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, said in response to the report, ‘The current health crisis has highlighted as never before the need for coherent international action in the face of global threat. Can we learn the lesson and apply it to the global threat of climate change? To do so means taking practical and effective steps to reduce our lethal dependence on fossil fuels.’