Operation Noah is an ecumenical Christian charity, founded in 2004. It is based in the UK and campaigns exclusively on climate change, encouraging divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Trustees come from the Catholic, Anglican, and free churches.
The Vatican called on Catholic institutions in 2020 to divest from fossil fuel companies because of their damage to the environment.
In a recent press release, Operation Noah announced that 35 faith institutions from 7 countries have declared their divestment from fossil fuel companies. Faith institutions represented more than 35% of all divestment commitments globally — a likely total of almost 12 trillion dollars. Groups include: Church of England dioceses; two Catholic dioceses; a Church of England cathedral; the Methodist Church in Ireland; two United Reformed Church Synods; 11 Catholic religious orders.
Since 2014, more than 1,500 institutions from all sectors, with combined assets of over $40 trillion, have now made some form of divestment commitment worldwide.
Operation Noah works in conjunction with the World Council of Churches, Laudato Si’ Movement, Green Anglicans, and GreenFaith. As a sign of the seriousness of the climate crisis, Christian churches and scientists are working together to keep fossil fuels in the ground. However, fossil fuel companies are still planning to invest almost a trillion dollars in expansion projects.
In June, the World Council of Churches called for “climate-responsible finance in the affairs of all members” by ensuring “through our pension funds, banks and other financial service arrangements we are not complicit in financing climate-destroying fossil fuel industries.” The Vatican has also recommended that investors divest from fossil fuel companies.
Last year, more than 20 Anglican bishops in Southern Africa, including the Archbishop of Cape Town, the three bishops of Mozambique, and the Bishop of Namibia called for an immediate halt to oil and gas exploration in Africa, while earlier this year, over 500 UK church leaders, including 68 Anglican and Catholic bishops and some of the UK’s largest Christian NGOs, called on the UK government to stop all new fossil fuel developments.
“Oil companies promise vast profits and prosperity, but the reality is that they leave pollution and political upheaval,” the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, environmental coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said.
“We all share responsibility for the problems facing our world, but equally, we share responsibility for finding the solutions,” says the Most Revd Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh.
Is your faith group doing enough to mitigate the climate crisis? It is time to divest from those companies that are destroying the planet? Individuals can make a difference also by how they invest and how they consume energy.
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