by Valeria Morrow | Jun 1, 2022 | Blog, News and Updates | 0 comments
The Fossil Fuelled 5 report, published during COP26 by the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and partners, examines five wealthy nations – the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Norway – that have a widening gap between their rhetoric on climate action and their plans to expand the production of fossil fuels.
The Global Church & The Fossil Fueled Five webinar presented fossil fuel divestment, support for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and opposition to new fossil fuel developments as three important actions that Churches and faith groups around the world can take in response to the climate crisis.
Bill McKibben, Author, environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org, spoke of the current geopolitical context around fossil fuels and the need for a rapid shift to renewable energy and clean technologies. He warned of the major oil companies’ fossil fuel expansion projects and encouraged Churches and faith institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies and support the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. “None of it is unexpected; all of it is brutal…We need to be moving very fast and on an enormous scale because we are very far behind.”
Revd Dr. Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (Green Anglicans), advocated for “No new fossil fuel developments in Africa”, referring to the call from Southern African Anglican bishops. She illustrated how “the oil curse” has swept across the continent, resulting in a series of dysfunctions–economic, political, governmental, and security. Dr. Mash showed examples of how activism has been successful in combating the likes of Shell and Total, encouraging participants to get involved and utilize all of the tools available to them in order to raise awareness of these crucial issues. “More jobs would be created by renewable energy projects; massive investment is needed.”
Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth and Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, gave an overview of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and its progress, but warned of fossil fuel expansion projects like Equinor’s Bay du Nord oil project in Canada. She also discussed the key findings of The Fossil Fuelled 5 report and provided reflections on the Stockholm+50 Conference. Recounting her own experiences with civil disobedience, she stressed that, “At this moment in history, we need bold and immediate action.”
Pastor Ray Minniecon, Executive Member, Indigenous Peoples’ Organization and Australian indigenous Anglican Pastor, described the context around the fossil fuel industry in Australia, especially with respect to Indigenous communities. He also shared theological reflections on the need to care for creation and act for climate justice. “We’ve looked after our country for the past 60,000 years in collaboration with our Creator. We looked after the land, and the land looked after us…now we’ve broken our connection with our Creator.”
Revd Abby Mohaupt, Director of Education and Training at GreenFaith and Presbyterian Church Minister, delineated the Presbyterian Church divestment campaign (USA). She asked the audience, “Where do you experience climate change in your life?” She pointed out that, as opposed to ten years ago, more and more people can answer that question in multiple ways–including her own family. She described the advocacy efforts as being “moved by theologies of care and justice, for people who have been marginalized and left behind.”
*Join Revd Abby in her upcoming initiative, Faiths 4 Climate Justice 2022 Kick-Off Call #1.
Rev. Henrik Grape, Senior Advisor on Care for Creation, Sustainability and Climate Justice for the World Council of Churches (WCC), addressed the involvement of The WCC and Church of Sweden in fossil fuel divestment. “Our obligation is to serve for a just transition…. because it’s morally right to do it.” He described the Scandinavian situation regarding fossil fuels, proposing actions that the Church could take, and shared his reflections on the Stockholm+50 Conference. He laments that we ,ust still advocate for these changes, that should have already been made. His own church totally divested in 2014. “We have to fight against greed and selfishness…You don’t put petrol on the fire, which is exactly what is happening.”
James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Director at Operation Noah, discussed fossil fuel divestment and clean energy investment in the UK. He presented numbers that help tell the story, including all of the protagonists: companies, governments, and faith institutions. James pointed out that, though progress is being made, much more needs to be done. “He urged viewers to do whatever is possible within their sphere of influence, and quoted the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, which divested from fossil fuel companies ahead of COP26: “The patience of the Church has run out!”
*Related video: Bishop Hugh Nelson on Diocese of Truro fossil fuel divestment and investment in climate solutions
Xiomara Acevado, of Laudato Si’ Movement, gave the audience a glimmer of hope with an an update on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and presented faith leaders’ letter to make the moral case for a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas. Cameron Conant, Operation Noah’s Communications Officer, invited participants to join the global divestment announcement on 5 July.
Valeria Morrow is a Laudato Si’ Content Creator. She has a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin, a minor in Hispanic Studies and additional studies in education. She has experience in the non-profit, tourism and education sectors. She lives in Barcelona with her husband and two boys.