More and More Churches Divest, Fueling the Moral Dimension of Climate Change
An increasing number of churches and religious organizations around the world are taking steps to divest their holdings in fossil fuels, according to a recent article in The New York Times. These organizations are part of a larger international effort to divest from fossil fuels, which so far includes more than $50 billion in assets. But religious organizations have a particularly important part to play in the effort, says Marion Maddox, an expert in religion and politics at Macquarie University in Australia, who is quoted in the article.
Religious organizations and churches divesting from fossil fuels may have the effect of making people stop and think whether fossil fuels are “respectable” to be involved with, Maddox says. Put another way, religious organizations’ involvement with climate change and divestment can help to highlight the moral dimension of climate change, which may in turn help to draw new constituencies aboard. To learn more about how religious organizations can join efforts to advance climate solutions in the United States, check out Blessed Tomorrow, a program of MomentUs.
Kate Galbraith, Contributor to The New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — In 2008, when the archbishop of the Church of Sweden convened a conference on the threats posed by climate change, the church’s investment managers took notice. The next year, they began removing fossil fuel companies from the church’s financial portfolio — a process that was completed last month with the removal of several natural gas companies.
Climate change “is an important issue for the church and its members,” said Anders Thorendal, the chief investment officer of the Church of Sweden. It did not make sense, he added, to keep fossil fuel companies — whose products result in climate-warming emissions — in the church’s portfolio.
Image credit: The Southerly Clubs of Stockholm