As the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) meets in Belfast starting Monday, I hope they act on their climate change report from last year called ‘Care for God’s Creation’.
The report called for “practical application of what we can do as a denomination, as churches and as individual members to care for God’s world and to reduce our adverse impact on it”.
To avoid a catastrophic two-degree rise in global heating, 80% of current fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. So why are churches still investing in fossil fuel companies?
According to the 2018 General Assembly Accounts Report, the Ethical Investment Policy of the PCI does not exclude investments in fossil fuel companies. Within the last two years, both the Church of Ireland General Synod and Irish Catholic Bishops Conference voted to divest from all fossil fuel production companies.
I hope that this year the PCI General Assembly follows.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist, said: “Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money... It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few... You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
The General Secretary of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said last year: “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.”
It is time for the PCI to divest from fossil fuels.
Stephen Trew, Divestment Leader, Church of Ireland General Synod (lay member), Craigavon