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Operation Noah
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Operation Noah
UK News

Former Archbishop of Canterbury urges churches to reduce ‘lethal dependence’ on fossil fuels

by Heather Preston

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has spoken of the responsibility of churches to fight climate change, following a new report.

Christian climate charity Operation Noah has released a report highlighting the urgent need for churches to divest from oil and gas companies that are "not taking seriously their responsibilities" to the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement is a United Nations commitment to limiting global warming to below 2°C and limit it to 1.5°C to avoid dangerous climate change.

The charity’s study reveals that none of the major oil companies are complying with the Paris Agreement targets. While Shell and BP intend to increase oil and gas production by 38 per cent and 20 per cent respectively between 2018 and 2030, global carbon emissions need to fall by 55 per cent in the next ten years.

In response to the study, Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams said: "The current health crisis has highlighted as never before the need for coherent international action in the face of global threat. Can we learn the lesson and apply it to the global threat of climate change? To do so means taking practical and effective steps to reduce our lethal dependence on fossil fuels."

Operation Noah is urging churches to move away from fossil fuels and invest in more clean energy.

Quakers in Britain, the Church of Ireland and the United Reformed Church are among the church bodies that have already divested from fossil fuels while others, including the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church, have made divestment recommendations.

Two Catholic dioceses in England and Wales have so far divested from fossil fuels, and the report calls on the remaining dioceses to join them. 

James Buchanan, Operation Noah’s 'Bright Now' campaign manager, said: "All major oil companies continue to spend huge sums on the exploration and extraction of new fossil fuel reserves, as well as lobbying against climate action. The evidence is overwhelming that none of these companies are ‘Paris compliant’. 

"We strongly encourage Churches to demonstrate moral leadership at this key moment in history by divesting from fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future."

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