A GROUP OF 19 CLERGY HAS WRITTTEN an open letter to the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board asking them to divest from all fossil fuels immediately.

There will also be a vigil, organised by Christian Climate Action outside Church House at 10am on Tuesday 18 May, the day of the Shell AGM, to pray for the two National Investment Boards to stop investing in Shell and to invest instead in funds that promote the common good.

The Rev Hilary Bond, one of the signatories to the letter, said: “It is morally wrong to invest in the decimation of creation. We are in a climate emergency which requires that we stop extracting and burning fossil fuels immediately. Engagement with Shell as shareholders has not worked and it is time to urgently divest.”

In July 2018, Synod agreed to divest from Shell unless certain condition were met. Christian Climate Action and those signing the open letter do not believe they have been met. Synod also agreed to divest from oil and gas companies that are not on track to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting a global average temperature rise to well below 2°C, and that in 2020 the Church would begin to divest from companies not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy. The highly respected Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), co-founded by the Church of England National Investing Bodies, recently found that no oil companies are on track to align their emissions with a 2°C climate pathway by 2050.

The Church claims that by investing in and engaging with the oil companies they are helping to transform society, yet at the Shell AGM on 18 May the Pensions Board intends to vote against a shareholder resolution asking for Shell to align its investments with the Paris targets.

In February 2020, General Synod agreed that the Church would reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Although not legally bound by this decision, Christian Climate Action and those signing the open letter expected that the Church Commissioners would understand that General Synod was expressing the will of the Church, and that this will should be reflected in decisions made by the Church Commissioners.

* More details on the vigil here.

* Those unable to attend the vigil at Church House are invited to pray from home using this prayer.

* Full text of the open letter and signatories here.

* Source: Christian Climate Action