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Church of England motion on climate change welcomed

By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 February, 2014

cry_of_the_earthOperation Noah, an ecumenical Christian charity, has welcomed the decision by the Church of England’s General Synod to engage seriously with the issue of climate change.

On Wednesday, the Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to ensure that C of E investment policy is aligned with their policies on climate change.

It also backed a decision to establish a working group on the environment to monitor this and other environmental issues.

“Today the Church of England has taken the first step to re-engaging with the issue of climate change,” Dr Isabel Carter, Chair of Operation Noah, said on Wednesday.

“This vote commits the Church to seriously consider how its investments reflect the urgency of climate change, including the option of disinvestment from fossil fuels,” she said.

“As Canon Goddard’s resolution made very clear we need to make a series of radical transformations in our economy and society if we are to avert catastrophic and uncontrolled changes to the climate system. That is going to require leadership from the Church.”

“We are delighted with the backing from Synod, and particularly welcome the support from the  Ethical Investment Advisory Group.”

Operation Noah is an ecumenical Christian charity providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change.

The motion debated today at General Synod called on the Synod to call upon the national investing bodies to ensure that their investment policy (including the option of disinvestment) is aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities of the Church which find expression in the reports ‘Sharing God’s Planet’ and ‘Church and Earth 2009-2016’ and in the ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign.

It also called on the EIAG to publish the report of its review by the end of 2014; and agree to the establishment of a General Synod Working Group on the Environment, to monitor this and other environmental issues.

The vote falls in ‘Go Green Week’, which is organised by Operation Noah partner People & Planet and is the UK’s largest national week of student action on climate.

The motion follows a resolution passed by Lambeth North Deanery for Southwark Diocesan Synod, calling on the Church’s national investment bodies to ensure that their investment policy is aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities of the Church.

Canon Giles Goddard, who presented the motion, said, “This vote proves that there is a hunger for us to do more on climate change as a church. But this is not the end, it’s the beginning.”

Speaking at a fringe meeting shortly after the debate, Mark Letcher, Vice Chair of Operation Noah said, “The record-breaking weather in the UK this winter, and statistics that show both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events to be increasing, provides an opportunity for a step change in the debate on climate change.”

“There is now recognition of the need for a fresh public conversation about climate change and the future habitability of our planet, and whether we want a future for our children which is cleaner, safer and healthier.”

Operation_Noah_Logo“There is a need for the government to be willing to take responsibility for change. The Church could help lead that conversation. The need for leadership has never been greater. We look forward to working with the C of E on this issue.”

Last year, Operation Noah launched its campaign ‘Bright Now: towards fossil free churches’, calling on Churches in the UK to disinvest from companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels, take a leading and influential role in the national debate on the ethics of investment in fossil fuels, and support the development of clean alternatives to fossil fuels through their investment policies.

For more information: http://www.operationnoah.org/

Further information about Go Green Week and Fossil Free Friday can be found here: http://peopleandplanet.org/gogreenweek

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