Synod commits to divest from fossil fuels

The United Reformed Church’s National Synod of Scotland has made the decision to divest from fossil fuels and agreed that no further investment in fossil fuels shall take place.

The resolution on divestment was passed at the spring synod meeting, which took place on 20-22 March at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan, Fife.

Welcoming the decision, Rev John Humphreys, Moderator of the URC’s National Synod of Scotland, said: “I’m delighted that the synod has shown a clear commitment to ethical investment – they have taken affirmative action against climate change and put people and the planet at the heart of their financial decision making.

“Rising temperatures and sea levels, severe storms, droughts and floods will inevitably lead to the displacement and endangering of billions of people and the loss of lives.

“Many others, particularly the poorest, will lose all they have.

“We hope and pray that other churches will feel able to respond ethically to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change.”

Two thirds of the world’s fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change, yet companies such as Shell and BP plan to extract all of their reserves and continue to explore new ones.

The United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland will now examine its financial arrangements and ensure that its investments do not endanger creation.

Mark Letcher, coordinator of the Bright Now church divestment campaign, said: “We are delighted that the United Reformed Church in Scotland has taken prophetic action by deciding to disinvest from fossil fuels.

“This marks a huge step forward for the UK church divestment campaign, which is gathering momentum as churches around the world disinvest.

“This decision demonstrates the church’s commitment to lead the urgently needed transition away from fossil fuels.

“We call on other UK churches to follow them.”

Operation Noah’s Bright Now campaign is calling for UK churches to divest from fossil companies, take a leading role in the debate on the ethics of fossil fuel investments, and reinvest in clean energy alternatives.