November 11, 2016

Dalai Lama, Tutu join global faith leaders in call for governments to divest from fossil fuels and shift to climate solutions

SYDNEY, 11 November 2016 — More than 30 faith groups globally collaborated in drafting a challenge to all sovereign wealth funds and state pension funds — collectively worth more than $19 trillion — to divest from fossil fuels and invest in the green economy and in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Leaders from global faith groups, financial institutions and foundations handed over the Global Interfaith Statement, along with thousands of supporting signatures, during the side event “Building the Divest-Invest Movement with Faiths, Foundations and Finance” at the COP22 climate conference.

Some eminent faith leaders who have signed are His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ven. Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong of Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists, we well as Rev Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit from the General Secretary of World Council of Churches.

The statement calls on governments of the world to “deliberately turn away from investing in fossil fuels and […] stand together, to call for a collective shift by sovereign wealth funds and public sector pension funds from fossil fuels towards climate solutions.”

The intrinsic relationship between climate change, poverty eradication and equitable sustainable development is highlighted in the statement, which emphasises the moral case for divesting from fossil fuels, reminding that “global society’s continued use of fossil fuels and other extractive industries, while knowing the damage they cause, is ethically untenable.”

“There has never been a more important time for faith communities to show their moral leadership by calling for fossil fuel divestment,” said Charlie Wood, Australia Campaign Manager. “With the election of Donald Trump we need faith and civil society groups to stand up and make sure that the gains we have made on climate aren’t swept away.

“Today’s statement is a powerful reminder to our own governments to stop funding the toxic fossil fuel industry and instead direct those resources to fund climate solutions. We commend the Australian Government for ratifying the Paris Agreement yesterday and it is now time for them to start taking strong action on climate change. There is no time to delay and we must rapidly transition to clean energy, while making sure that projects like the Adani coal mine never see the light of day.”