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'Preserve creation from the ravages of greed-induced climate change': Faith institutions divest from fossil fuels

by Tola Mbakwe

The coalitions of institutions include seven Protestant institutions, among them the United Reformed Church in the UK, St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, and the United Reformed Church Synod of Wessex, UK. 

St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh is one of the first cathedrals in the world to divest from fossil fuels.

In June this year, the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod asked the Church's Investment Committee to divest, recognising the "moral imperative to divest fully from fossil fuels".

Very Rev John Conway, Provost of St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, said: "We need to shape an economy that does not rely on fossil fuels, whose extraction and burning are imperilling the lives and livelihoods of so many, both now and for all generations to come.

"The climate emergency will only be tackled when as individuals, institutions, businesses and governments, we act together, in solidarity with those who suffer now, and with hope for future generations."

Fifteen new Catholic commitments were also made, among them the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, and Caritas agencies in Italy, Singapore, Australia, and Norway.

This divestment announcement is made as a summit called 'Financing the Future' is set to begin in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday.

A group of 75 faith leaders at the summit will spend the day exploring tangible ways to make the transition to a clean energy economy.

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg is an ambassador to the conference and president of the Catholic Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.

Celebrating the transition away from fossil fuels, Archbishop Jean-Claude said, "In this time and place the key action is to do what we can to preserve creation from the ravages of greed-induced climate change. To do so we should all use the authorities available to us to shift away from industries and models of destruction and into the opportunity to promote life."

According to Global Catholic Climate Movement, these divestments makes faith institutions the largest constituency in the global divestment movement, with a new milestone of $11 trillion in assets. It was $50 billion five years ago.

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