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Archbishop Rowan Williams.jpg
Alamy
Archbishop Rowan Williams.jpg
Alamy
UK News

Rowan Williams joins over 200 clergy in pleading climate letter to the C of E

by Sophie Drew

More than 200 clergy, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams and ten bishops, have signed an open letter calling for the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels this summer.

It comes ahead of the imminent General Synod, which is due to begin next month.

The bishops that have added their name to the letter include: include Rt Revd Lynne Cullens, Bishop of Barking, Diocese of Chelmsford; Rt Revd Arun Arora, Bishop of Kirkstall, Diocese of Leeds; Rt Revd Gavin Collins, Bishop of Dorchester, Diocese of Oxford; and Rt Revd Dr Joanne Grenfell, Bishop of Stepney, Diocese of London.

It also bears the names of 226 active and retired clergy.

They’re specifically calling for the Pensions Board to give up their links to fossil fuels, calling it a “matter of conscience” that must be “urgently addressed”.

Previously, the C of E has pledged to divest from all fossil fuel companies not included in the Paris Agreement by this year, but now campaigners want to see divestment from all companies with links to the practice, not just those shunning the climate agreement.

The letter states, “As the climate crisis deepens, divesting clergy pensions from fossil fuels is a matter of conscience and one that the Pensions Board must now urgently address.

“No company planning to extract new oil and gas can possibly be in compliance with the Paris Agreement, which is aimed at limiting global heating to 1.5°C – a goal that can only be achieved if emissions are nearly halved by 2030.”

It also says: “We welcome the recent decision by the Pensions Board and Church Commissioners to vote against the directors of fossil fuel companies in which the Church of England still owns shares, but the world is at a crossroads, and the Church can and should do more.”

The statement concludes: “We urge the National Investing Bodies to commit to divest from all fossil fuel companies at this summer’s General Synod. Will the Church of England lose its voice by divesting? Not at all. It will have a new voice – one that will resonate around the world and will cause many investors to reconsider where they put their money.”

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