Anglicans divest shares in fossil fuels

On Thursday last week, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia unanimously passed a resolution to take all reasonable steps to divest shares in fossil fuel companies by mid-2016.

Rod Oram, who moved the proposal, told synod that it “gives us the opportunity to offer leadership on, and to make a practical response to, climate change.

“Thus, it speaks to two marks of our Christian mission: care of creation and righting unjust social structures.

“Of all the ways in which we live unsustainably,” he said, “it is climate change that is causing the gravest harm – right now, here and around the world – to the very ecosystem on which our existence depends.”

And climate change, he said, is being driven “simply by pumping a rapidly rising volume of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere.

Oram is a journalist specialising in economic issues.

The motion drew impassioned support from Tikanga Pasefika speakers, most notably Bishop Api Qiliho, who said the survival of Pacific Island people was at stake.

There were notes of caution, however, from Mark Wilcox, General Manager of the Anglican Pension Board.

He told synod that the Pension Board manages $160 million of funds on behalf of its members, many of whom are retired or serving clergy.

Mr Wilcox said the Board took its ethical investment philosophy seriously, and had wrestled with how to respond “to the growing tide of sentiment around the world for divestment of fossil fuel investments.”

But it also had to take its fiduciary obligations to its members equally seriously.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , , ,