In a historic move, the United Church of Christ voted to divest all investments in fossil fuel companies from its pensions and portfolios over the next five years. The group came to this decision because of climate change concerns. It was a move motivated by the group 350.org, which is urging other groups such as universities to shed investments in fossil fuels. The UCC is the first major religious institution in the country to drop fossil fuels from investment portfolios. United Church Funds President Donald Hart said of the decision, “Implementing the multiple strategies outlined in this resolution will demand time, money and care — but we believe creation deserves no less”. Reverend Jim Antal, the resolution’s biggest proponent said, “”This resolution becomes a model for all faith communities who care about God’s creation and recognize the urgent scientific mandate to keep at least 80 percent of the known oil, gas and coal reserves in the ground. . . This vote expresses our commitment to the future. By this vote, we are amplifying our conviction with our money.”
In taking their money out of fossil fuel investments, the Church of Christ is not only acknowledging that climate change is a real threat, but they are clearly stating that environmental stewardship is a moral issue. In the words of 350.org founder Bill McKibben, this is “a profoundly moral argument: if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from the wreckage.” While this will not directly reduce any carbon emissions or bankrupt any polluters, it is a bold symbolic gesture. And in the world of economics, more and more people are realizing that they can vote with their dollars.
- Divestment From Fossil Fuel Investments Gains Momentum (sustainablebusiness.com)
- Norway fund, US church cut exposure to fossil fuel investments (reneweconomy.com.au)
- Church Dropping Fossil Fuel Investments (gogreennation.org)