The General Council of the United Church of Canada has voted to divest investments from fossil fuels. The largest Protestant church in Canada – which serves 2.5 million Canadians – will now be compelled to sell its $5.9 million of fossil fuel assets, or shift them to a portfolio of “green” ventures.
Commissioners for the General Council met earlier this week, in Corner Brook Newfoundland and Labrador, and voted to pass the motion by 67 per cent. Their assets include holdings in 200 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies and amount to 4.7 per cent of the United Church’s treasury.
Campaigners within the church have been agitating for the move for 20 years. Speaking to Canada Press, veteran climate advocate and General Council commissioner, Christine Boyle, said:
“Care for creation and concern for the way that climate is impacting the most marginalized populations made this move an act of justice, of faith, and of solidarity with First Nations and other impacted communities.
“The United Church of Canada has voiced its concern about human-induced climate catastrophe for decades. Given the lack of political and industrial leadership to address climate concerns in a way that matches the scale of the problem, we wanted to signal that we are so serious about averting climate crisis that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
The Fossil Free campaign has become the fastest growing divestment movement in history. It only launched in 2012, but has grown faster that the campaign to boycott Israel, and even the anti-apartheid campaign of the 1980s.
Student and Church organisation make up a sizeable number of the institutions involved, including the Church of England, who cities their “moral responsibility” to be involved.
Pope Francis has been a known supporter of climate hysteria since 2012, and in June this year he made an encyclical linking economic and climate justice “in a way that this divestment movement does.” The Vatican itself is now thought to be considering joining the campaign.