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Justin Welby defends Church stance on climate during BBC interview

by Kelly Valencia

 The Archbishop of Canterbury has been pressed on why the Church of England continues to invest in fossil fuel industries. 
It comes as Pope Francis, together with Eastern Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Bartholomew and Most Rev Justin Welby, released a joint statement warning that it is "a critical moment for the planet" as global leaders prepare for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. 
Speaking to BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, Most Rev Justin Welby, who used to work as an executive in the oil industry, said the Church believes "in engagement and not just divestment" and is "progressively divesting from those companies who refuse to change". 
"Christians believe in conversion. We want to see companies change their behaviour," Archbishop Justin said. "We have a tool which enables us to engage with companies, particularly in the extractive industries and see if they're changing or not. We are progressively divesting from those who refuse to change and we're working with those who are keen on changing." 
"I am very comfortable that we are engaging with the fossil fuel industry companies, I am comfortable that we have that investment, provided they change and have a net zero target in a reachable horizon in the near future." 
When asked about what personal changes he has made to combat climate change, he said he now eats less meat, no longer has a diesel car and is "very committed to recycling". 
Archbishop Justin urged global leaders to "choose life", echoing a verse from Deuteronomy, and said taking action on climate change was a matter of "choosing life or choosing death". 
"The phrase in the book is: choose life so that your children may live. And that's what we're saying to the leaders. Most people in the world are behind them on this. This is not something that goes against public opinion. It is about saying, we have to think intergenerationally - choose life." 
He also urged the Government to follow the "long-standing Christian principle" of making sure that "the burden is borne by those with the broadest shoulders". 
The COP26 climate summit will start in Glasgow on 31st October.  

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