The Presbyterian Church in Ireland to vote on fossil fuel divestment


Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

There have been a number of very positive statements from the PCI in the last few months on climate change, and today there is an opportunity for action to stop funding fossil fuels.

The church's decision to support The Climate Sundays initiative is really positive. The moderator is encouraging congregations across Ireland to set aside one Sunday in October as `Climate Sunday' to focus on God's creation and humanity's responsibility to be good stewards of it. Rev Dr David Bruce also produced a Climate Conversation video to outline briefly some of the theological reasons why Christians should take climate change seriously and care for creation. This is all very welcome.

Another key moment will be today, Tuesday 5th October, when the General Assembly will vote on a motion to divest from fossil fuels. It aims to fully divest from fossil fuel production companies that it holds - that's £5m in BP, Shell and Total - and to engage with fossil fuel consumption companies and fossil fuel funding bodies like banks and insurers. 

Here is the motion,

In light of PCI’s responsibility to be good stewards of creation, the General Assembly direct the Trustees to employ a ‘divest and engage’ strategy in relation to companies producing or using fossil fuels, thereby divesting from those that derive more that 10% of their turnover from oil and gas extraction (the coal, oil and gas majors), and engaging with companies that derive more than 10% of their turnover from the use of fossil fuels, encouraging them to make clear commitments to the targets for global heating and carbon emission reduction as set out in the COP 21 Paris Agreement; reporting back to the 2022 General Assembly.

This vote will be a real test of whether the PCI will put into action what it has been saying over the last few months. I do hope and pray that for the poorest people around the world and young people today, that the PCI will send a clear signal that it will no longer invest in the climate crisis.



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