Fossil Fuel Divestment Sweeps Through Religious Community

With the World Council of Churches decision to divest from fossil fuels, a huge percentage of humanity is closing the door on the past. 

The organization – a fellowship of 300 churches – represents some 590 million people in 150 countries, and is calling on its members and other religious institutions to join them. In the past, they took a stance against nuclear energy.

"The general ethical guidelines for investment already include concern for a sustainable environment, for future generations and CO2 footprint. Adding fossil fuels to the list of sectors where we do not invest serves to strengthen the governing body’s commitment on climate change as expressed in various sessions of the Central Committee," says Guillermo Kerber, who coordinates their work on care for creation and climate justice.

Divest World Council of Churches

Divestment is catching on among religious leaders across the world. Other recent divestment decisions are: Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (US), United Church of Christ (US), University of Dayton (Ohio) –  the first Catholic institution to divest – Union Theological Seminary (New York City), the Church of Sweden and Quakers (UK). Regional Lutheran, Quaker, and Episcopal denominations have joined the effort in the US, and the Anglican Church is leading the way in New Zealand and Australia, with many local dioceses and the entire Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia committing to divestment.

The Vatican held a 5-day summit, Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.

"The World Council of Churches may be the most important commitment we’ve received yet," says Tim Ratcliffe,’s European Divestment Coordinator. "It opens the doors for churchgoers around the world to encourage their institutions to live up to their values and divest from companies that are destroying the planet and our future."

This month, the British Medical Association also joined the chorus of divestment, the first health organization to do so.

In September, the World Council will join religious and spiritual leaders from around the world at the Religions for the Earth conference in New York City:

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Comments on “Fossil Fuel Divestment Sweeps Through Religious Community”

  1. Ilma

    Considering fossil fuels are part of God’s creation that he declared “good”, it is a little odd that the churches are going against God and calling his creation “bad”. Considering also the environmentalists fundamentally think man is a surge on the earth and are against 90% of power generation sources/technologies, for the churches to follow them is the height of folly. To deprive per and developing nations of sources of inexpensive power generation and so deliberately want to keep them in poverty is unbelievably cruel. Where is the love of Crust in this decision?

  2. John

    Well Ilma, the aim of these churches is preservation and protection of Gods Creation.
    That aim doesn’t change. No matter how much Murdochs media empire tries to attach the fossil fuel interest’s agenda to the world view of people who call themselfs “conservative”.
    A real conservative prefers to, well, conserve Gods creation. Not destroy it.
    Although the fossil fuel industry spends $ 1 billion a year ( ) to fight the preservation of Gods creation and to label this as “conservative”…., it’s awesome that at least the World Council of Churches is smart enough to resist the temptations of this propaganda campaign. , ,

  3. Jay

    Ilma, when God deemed the fossil fuels “good” he had put them in the ground. Seems like we should have stuck with that plan and kept them there. Thinking that we had a better plan (burning them) than God’s (putting them in the ground) might have been a bit premature.


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