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Public pledge to not invest in fossil fuels is backed by Diocesan Synod

First published on: 18th March 2024

Our commitment to action on climate change has been reinforced by Synod with an overwhelming vote against diocesan investment in fossil fuel businesses.

The diocese has been a positive leader in environmental work for many years and synod members voted in favour of a motion presented by the Rt Revd Anna Eltringham, Bishop of Ripon which proposed: “That this Diocesan Synod approves the proposal that the Leeds Diocesan Board of Finance does not invest in companies with significant revenues (i.e. greater than 10%) arising from fossil fuels, in the future”.

Addressing the online meeting, Bishop Anna detailed the pressing need for action against climate change:

“This last year, March 2023 to Feb 2024 was reported as the hottest ever recorded at 1.56C above pre-industrial levels and February itself was 1.77 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average for that month. 

“We have breached the key 1.5C warming limit world leaders committed to in Paris in 2015.  The El Nino effect may have contributed or not.

“Like it or not global warming and climate change are well underway and we must live with the effects.”

Bishop Anna said that steps such as not making money from fossil fuels were driven by Christian love for the planet and its people and that progress should be powered by hope for the future:

“We must not give up hope or effort that we can still limit warming and reach net zero carbon.  In fact our resolve should increase. 

“All is not lost.  We can still act.  Climate Change is underway but as Christians more than ever we must show our love for God, our Creator who created this beautiful world which is groaning and hurting so much, and we must show our love for our brothers and sisters across the globe who with us call this planet home, by acting in love, not losing faith and certainly keeping up hope.  Hope in God and the humanity he created.”

Diocesan Secretary Jonathan Wood said the motion made a public commitment to action the diocese had already taken by placing all of its funds with investment firm CCLA (which stands for Churches, Charities and Local Authorities Investment Management) and which does not invest in  companies with revenues of more than 10 per cent arising from fossil fuels.

“This motion solidifies and crystalizes something we are already doing in practice and sends out the clear message that we are serious about doing things to combat climate change,” he said.

The motion was also endorsed by the Revd John Bavington of the Inner Bradford Deanery, who added: “It’s important that we put our money where our mouth is.”

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