The World Council of Churches (WCC), which represents 345 member churches, including the Church of England, reviewed their ethical investment criteria and decided to remove fossil fuel companies. The WCC represents over half a billion Christians around the world. However, the group doesn’t include the Catholic Church.
The decision to divest from fossil fuel investments serves as a powerful message, especially coming from the religious community. However, it is unsure whether the decision will only be applicable to the council or its members as well. Regardless, the WCC is a large religious organization which has heeded the call for action against climate change.
In a statement, Bill McKibben founder of the climate change campaign group 350.org, hailed the decision of the WCC.
“The World Council of Churches reminds us that morality demands thinking as much about the future as about ourselves–and that there’s no threat to the future greater than the unchecked burning of fossil fuels. This is a remarkable moment for the 590 million Christians in its member denominations: a huge percentage of humanity says today ‘this far and no further”
According to 350.org, the WCC’s decision has come following a recent surge in religious institutions choosing to divest from fossil fuel investments. The Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in the United States chose to pull out a few weeks ago. Dayton University became the first Catholic institution to join the fossil fuel divestment campaign. In addition, the Church of Sweden has also decided to join the movement.
It’s a positive sign to see religious institutions choosing to join the fight against the fossil fuel industry. Hopefully, the decision extends to group members not simply the council. In time, we will see the effects of the WCC’s decision. Nevertheless, for the time being, their decision should be heralded as a step in the right direction.