Global warming is not only considered an existential threat, but now is also a spiritual one. The Church of England has vowed, as a last resort, to divest itself of companies that don’t do enough to fight the “great demon” of global warming.
The Church of England has become an active force on climate issues, arguing that global warming is a moral issue, not simply a policy or scientific one. Church officials have urged the religious organization to play a bigger role in lobbying lawmakers to take action on global warming.
Canon Giles Goddard of Southwark diocese said the Church of England needed to “align the mission of the church with its investment arm and with the life of the parishes.”
“Climate change is a moral issue because the rich world has disproportionately contributed to it and the poor world is disproportionately suffering,” said Goddard. “Poor communities are least equipped to deal with the impacts.”
Bishop Steven Croft of Sheffield said global warming was “a giant evil; a great demon of our day.”
“Its power is fed by greed, blindness and complacency in the present generation, and we know that this giant wreaks havoc through the immense power of the weather systems, which are themselves unpredictable,” Croft added.
The church, however, has resisted calls to divest from fossil fuel companies, instead saying that the church was considering “all options” when it came crafting future investment policies. Quickly dumping all their fossil fuel holdings, the church says, is not the answer.
“Make no mistake, we reserve the final option of disinvesting from those particular companies who resist change,” said the Rev. Canon Professor Richard Burridge. “Climate change is in sharp focus at the moment, with the UK experiencing such extreme flooding that even the chief scientist of the Met Office links [it] to climate change — not to mention forest fires in Australia and blizzards in the USA.”
Burridge said that the church’s engagement with companies that poorly managed their carbon dioxide emissions had led to 72 percent of said companies improving their environmental footprint.
“Pointing the finger at the extractive industries gets us off the hook and avoids the fundamental problem which is our selfishness and our way of life, which has been fueled by plentiful, cheap energy and more and more people around the world wanting that,” Burridge said.
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