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Positive moves on fossil fuel investments

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Here is a letter published in the Church of Ireland Gazette this week.


Dear Sir,
I was delighted with the way General Synod received the motion on climate change and fossil fuel investment! This is a change of direction for the RCB. They now accept that climate change is a serious problem, it’s impacting the poor hardest, and that urgent action is required by the church and society at all levels to shift to a low carbon economy.
Has there been an epiphany in Dublin? Yes there has, for the climate change policy now focuses on reducing fossil fuel exposure and investing in an expanding green sector that offers good returns. These are positive signs.
The motion means that the RCB no longer invests in coal and tar-sands, and investments in oil and gas producers have reduced by 70% in recent years. I hope that the review in 2020 will result in 0% exposure to fossil fuels. There is a parallel to tobacco. The RCB excludes all tobacco products due to public health concerns. The British Med…

QUB divestment adds pressure on Churches to do the same

BBC News: QUB to disinvest from fossil fuels after student campaign https://t.co/g7uiJX8kRs@350@billmckibben#divest#keepitintheground — Stephen Trew (@stephentrew) May 16, 2017
The news that Queen’s University Belfast will divest from fossil fuels is really welcome. It follows a student protest in 2015 that highlighted the issue. The university has a carbon management plan that has been updated to include a policy on investments that aims to divest from fossil fuels by 2025.
Queen’s is following a number of universities in Ireland that have already divested. Maynooth led the way followed by Trinity College and the National University of Ireland Galway. Other notable institutions in Ireland to divest are the Mary Robinson foundation and the Irish Parliament.
With universities north and south setting the pace the pressure is now increasing on churches in Ireland to follow. The Church of Ireland at the 2017 General Synod in Limerick passed motion 11 to exclude the most polluting fossil …

Motion on climate change investment

Wonderful news!  This motion was passed by Synod.

News: Climate Change and Fossil Fuels Motion Passed at General Synod: A motion calling on the RCB to ensure… https://t.co/7Mx6K5uhnn#coigs— Church of Ireland (@churchofireland) May 5, 2017

Here is a copy of the motion that passed at General Synod 2017 in Limerick. For more details see the press release and tweet from the Church of Ireland press office. (Be sure to like and retweet!)

11. REPRESENTATIVE CHURCH BODY Proposer: Mr Stephen Trew Seconder: Mr Kevin Bowers

Explanatory note

The RCB accepts the broad scientific consensus, as set out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fifth Assessment Report (2014), that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the most significant contributor to changes in the world’s climate. Urgent action is needed if we are to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change on ecosystems, and on present and future generations.

The RCB acknowledges that climate ch…

Motion Speech

Here is a copy of the speech to propose the motion on climate change and ethical investments at General Synod 2017.


#coigs Stephen Trew speaking on climate change and fossil fuels. @stephentrewpic.twitter.com/6JkD5lbZJJ — Church of Ireland (@churchofireland) May 5, 2017 Your Grace, members of synod.

In proposing this motion I would like us to remember the reason why we have investment funds. We invest to support the ministry and mission of the church. We invest in what we think will return value, and in turn, the investments reflect our own values.

For this reason the RCB has an Environmental, Social and Governance Policy outlined on page 100 of the Book of Reports. This policy excludes investments in businesses that are inconsistent with the ethos and mission of the church.

When it comes to fossil fuel investments we must ask ourselves a question. What do we value more: a return on our investments, or the welfare of people who are harmed by air pollution and climate change caused by…