In a landmark vote at its biannual meeting on Thursday last week, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia unanimously passed a resolution to “take all reasonable steps” to divest shares in fossil fuel companies by mid-2016.
The Anglican Church’s Pension Board manages $160 million of funds on behalf of its members, a portion of which is invested in fossil fuel companies. The resolution passed will mean that all of its fossil fuel investments will be withdrawn, over the next two years.
The motion drew impassioned support from Tikanga Pasefika speakers, including Bishop Api Qiliho, who said the survival of Pacific Island people was at stake.
“We congratulate the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, for taking such strong leadership on climate change, by pledging to divest from fossil fuel companies,” stated Mrs. Koreti Tiumalu, 350.org Pacific Coordinator.
“The Anglican Church are definitely taking a bold step here, and we can only hope that other faith communities around the world, and in the Pacific, follow in their footsteps.”
“As Pacific Islanders we need to be aware of where our investments are going, and how our money could in fact, be funding climate change. This needs to end. That’s what this divestment movement is about – taking actions as a community to ensure that smarter sustainable investments are made in more renewable sources of energy – and not fossil fuels.” concluded Mrs. Tiumalu.
The Anglican Church now joins over 90 other churches, universities, trusts and cities world over, in what is rapidly becoming an international movement, making the commitment to cease all investments in the fossil fuel industry.
On Tuesday last week, the Dunedin City Council also voted to divest it’s $72 million Waripori investment portfolio from fossil fuel extraction, citing concern over climate change impacts.
While scientists, policy makers, and NGOs have outlined many actions as necessary to address climate change, divestment, and the importance of rapidly shifting financing away from the fossil fuel industry has increasingly been highlighted as an additional important part of the solution.
The major IPCC Working Group III Report on mitigation released last month also echoed this sentiment.