Showing posts from June, 2016

Church of Ireland investments are risking your health

A  report  by the International Energy Authority (IEA) states that air pollution from fossil fuels has become a major health crises and is responsible for 6.5 million deaths worldwide each year. The report states that the problem of air pollution is growing and the health impacts risk intensifying in the decades to come if nothing is done. In 2015 the Head of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan has said that, “Air pollution is one of the most important health risk factors globally, comparable to tobacco smoking”. She was commenting on a report from the Lancet, the world’s foremost medical journal, that highlighted the risks of air pollution from fossil fuels. The Irish government's Environmental Protection Agency states that air pollution is directly linked to 1,200 premature deaths per year mainly around large cities and towns as a result of traffic emissions. The Church of Ireland seeks to be a responsible investor that integrates environmental, social

Archbishop Jackson can lead a Church of Ireland revolution

Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough can lead a revolution in the Church of Ireland, and it might be inspired by the Pope. The revolution I am talking about is to do with mission. The signals are that the archbishop has been thinking long and hard about mission and Christians’ responsibility to care for creation. He likes to use the term 'theological ecology', for it sums up what creation care is all about: humankind’s relationship to God and to the world. Most recently he spoke at the Arklow Festival of Faith on June 2nd 2016 where his theme was ' Care for Creation '. For me several comments stand out from his speech, We as humans have been spectacularly unable to regulate our relationship with creation. This speech draws inspiration from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si’ on the environment and human ecology. The Pope’s intervention in the climate change debate last year is regarded as a key moment running up to the succes

Archbishop Clarke on the refugee crisis. What about the causes?

I was delighted to see that Archbishop Clarke gave a lecture on 25 May 2016 on the theme of refugees. His lecture was entitled ‘The Stranger at the Gate’ and focused on our response to the refugee crisis and displaced people across the world. The Archbishop addressed the size of the crisis and how we need to respond, but he did not mention anything about the underlying causes. Some useful statistics from the UN  were mentioned in the speech, The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that, worldwide, there are almost 60 million forcibly displaced people; over 45 million men, women and children are being helped or protected by the UN High Commission for Refugees, and over half of all refugees are under 18 years old. And, as we survey the European aspects of the refugee crisis, we need first to accept that nearly 90% of all known refugees are being cared for, not here in Europe, but in the developing world, those countries that can least afford any influx of impoverished n

RCB climate change policy compared to Exxon's

Last week Exxon held its Annual General Meeting at which shareholder resolutions on Climate Change were defeated. Exxon has refused to approve resolutions on climate change since engagement first began in 1996. At the meeting the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson said, The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not ... just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is not acceptable to humanity, This intransigence did not go down well with many of Exxon's shareholders, 38% of whom voted for change. The interesting thing is to compare the quote above with the RCB's policy on climate change .  Here is an extract, fossil fuels will continue to contribute a major component of this energy mix for the foreseeable future and remain one of the most cost efficient methods of energy production. Whilst not as blunt as the CEO of Exxon, the similarity is striking.

Church of Ireland and Climate Change - time to act on fossil fuel investments

It is certainly good to see the Church of Ireland Representative Church Body (RCB) respond to the issue of climate change. The article ' From Fossils to Forestry: RCB invests in the future ' originally appeared in the Church of Ireland Gazette, 9th May 2016. It indicates that the ethics of fossil fuel investments are at the top of the Investment Committee agenda, which is good to see. The quotes in blue are from the RCB article on which I have commented to further the debate.  The article begins, Climate change is an extremely important, complex and topical issue.  Stating that climate change is ‘complex’ sets the mood. It sets the scene that the RCB aims to steer through the rising seas and storms of climate change and chart the best course having weighed all the options. But opening an article in this way is a distraction, for climate change happening. There is no complexity to that fact. The UN states that global warming is unequivocal and it is caused by h