Activists urge Church of England to divest from fossil fuels

The activists staged a protest inside a cathedral demanding the Church divest from oil and gas companies by the end of October

Big Zero Report 2022

A group of activists has carried out a protest at Wells Cathedral in Somerset to urge the Diocese of Bath and Wells and 14 other Church of England dioceses to commit to divesting from fossil fuels.

The protestors, including a member of the clergy, took part in a Eucharist service before moving to the church altar holding banners that read: “No Faith in Fossil Fuels” and “Churches Divest Now”.

The activists, all members of Christian Climate Action, demanded that the Church immediately announces its intention to divest from fossil fuel companies and that they complete divestment by the end of October ahead of COP27.

Bristol-based Reverend Sue Parfitt, who participated in the protest, said: “How could I not take part? I find it deeply shocking that many Dioceses in the Church of England, knowing all that they do as to the lethal effect of fossil fuels on all life on earth, are nevertheless prepared to gain financially through their continuing investment in the industry.”

A Diocese of Bath and Wells spokesperson told ELN: “The Diocese of Bath and Wells is committed to ensuring that creation care is central to all our worship, thinking, actions and policies and, in 2020, declared a climate emergency and committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“The diocese has a creation-centric approach to investment and invests in line with guidance laid down by the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which means divesting from fossil fuel companies not aligned with the Paris Agreement by 2023. It currently holds no shares in oil or gas companies.”

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