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The Church of England voted on Sunday to divest from oil and gas companies after 2023 if it finds them lacking in tackling climate change.
The Church of England’s General Synod adopted a motion with 347 votes in favor to 4 against, with 3 abstentions “to assess companies’ progress by 2023 and disinvest from any companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.”
“Today’s decision … will allow us to continue to push for real change in the oil and gas sector and use engagement, our voting rights and rights to file shareholder resolutions to drive the change we want to see,” a spokesperson for the Church of England said.
“We need real world, urgent, practical change to cut carbon emissions dramatically. We all have to embrace that Big Shift away from fossil fuel dependency to embrace new forms of energy as fast as we can. At the end of 2017, we, the Church Commissioners, had under 5 percent of our listed equities portfolio in the world’s big oil and gas companies, and I am glad to say companies working on climate solutions comprised nearly 10 percent. We are already making the Big Shift,” said Loretta Minghella, First Church Estates Commissioner and Chair of the Commissioners’ Assets Committee.
Christian Aid’s Head of UK Advocacy, Tom Viita, said, commenting on the Church of England’s vote on Sunday: “Today’s vote by the Church of England Synod shows the bell is tolling for the fossil fuel era. As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said last week, climate change is the great existential threat of our times, and today the church has backed up his words with a clear decision to pull its investments from fossil fuel companies that don’t quickly align themselves with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”
Two months ago, large global investors—representing a combined US$10.4 trillion worth of assets under management—urged oil and gas companies to start acting responsibly in tackling climate change.
“Investors are embracing their responsibility for supporting the Paris agreement. It is time for the entire oil and gas industry to do the same,” sixty large investors wrote in May in an open letter to the Financial Times.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.