October 5, 2014

Perth Anglicans to Divest from Fossil Fuels

PERTH, 5th October: The Anglican Diocese of Perth has joined the growing list of institutions divesting from fossil fuels. At its annual Synod this weekend, the Diocese directed its investment board, The Perth Diocesan Trustees (PDT), to produce a report within 12 months detailing how it can divest from fossil fuels and direct investment funds into renewable energy investments.

The PDT had already committed itself to preferencing renewable energy technologies over fossil fuel based investments. Speakers for the motion said that the Church must not profit from industries that contribute to climate change and destroy the lives and livelihoods of poor communities

Church advocates for divestment detailed a theology of creation, claiming that God’s care extends not just to human beings but the whole of creation. Climate change is affecting all of the living systems of the Earth, and if unaddressed may have disastrous impacts on agriculture and fresh water systems which will predominantly affect the world’s poor.

“In an ecological age, the ethic of reciprocity extends to the Earth and all its living creatures, and it certainly extends to the poorest of the world’s poor, and to our children and our children’s children. We must love what God loves”, Anglican EcoCare speaker the Reverend Evan Pederick said.

Currently the Church’s investment body has holdings in mining shares, as well as interest bearing deposits and commercial property investments which will be examined to determine the extent to which its reserves are directly or indirectly exposed to fossil fuel investments.

Other environmental motions passed by the Church’s annual Synod included calling on the Federal Government to enact an effective carbon pricing mechanism and participate meaningfully in international forums leading up to the UN Paris conference in 2015, and on the WA Government to take note of scientific and medical concerns around shale gas fracking, ensuring environmental and social impact studies are publicly tabled and that local communities and landowners are given a power of veto.

The Synod’s announcement adds it to a growing list of institutions committing to divest including 45 religious organizations such as the World Council of Churches and the Uniting Church of Australia, 13 universities including Stanford University, 29 cities including San Francisco and Seattle, and several foundations and superannuation funds.