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Church of England to withdraw funds from polluting firms that fail to tackle climate change

July 13, 2018

By Paul Homewood


The increasingly irrelevant Church of England has jumped on the virtue signalling bandwagon, and decided to withdraw funds from polluting firms that “fail to tackle climate change.”

From the Telegraph:



The Church of England is to withdraw funds from polluting firms that fail to tackle climate change.

Companies including Shell and BP could face disinvestment from the church within five years if they do not fall in line with strict environmental measures.

Its General Synod, meeting this weekend in York, voted to bring in the timetable to put more pressure on companies which fail to meet the aims of the Paris climate accords.

The church pulled £12m in funds out of assets such as coal and tar sands oil following another Synod vote in 2015, but is still an investor in major fossil fuels companies.

The church’s pension fund, worth £2bn, is understood to be in deficit, but a spokesman said it was on track to remove it.

The decision came after the church was slammed by one of its bishops for failing to move with sufficient urgency. 

The Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, said the church was "not moving quickly enough" and urged it to disinvest by 2020, an shorter timetable. 

"If we continue to invest in these companies beyond 2020, we will be generating profit from practices which will harm and exacerbate climate change," he said.

But members instead opted to pass a motion which tells church commissioners to withdraw funds by 2023 from energy giants who do not fall in with the Paris agreement to ensure global temperatures do not rise by more than two degrees.

Until now the church has been focused on a policy of remaining a shareholder in big companies working in fossil fuels and mining and working to change them from within.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, who led the debate, said the approach had successfully prompted companies to improve their policies.

A spokesman for the Church of England said: “Synod’s vote makes clear that the Church must play a leading role and exercise its moral leadership on the urgent issue of climate change.

“Today’s decision, including the amendment by Giles Goddard, 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.  

“As we said during the debate, our active engagement and voting record provide greater leverage and influence than we could ever hope to achieve by acting alone or by forced divestment and simply selling our holdings.”


It is hard to know where to start with this hypocritical navel gazing.


If Welby and co had not realised it, it is not oil companies who “pollute”, it is everybody who burns the stuff.

When the C of E heats its palaces and vicarages, where do they think the energy comes from? Or for the cars they drive, computers they run or food they eat?

When the C of E stops using fossil fuels, I might believe their sincerity. In the meantime, they are simply a bunch of hypocrites.


As for oil companies meeting the aims of the Paris climate accords, what on earth does that mean? Produce oil with less CO2 in it? The only way they can reduce oil consumption, and therefore emissions, is to cut production.

And does this self righteous bunch of bishops realise the damage that would do the world’s economy?


In any event, more than half the world’s oil production is controlled by the Middle East, Russia and China, where C of E divestment will have no effect at all.


BP Energy Review 2018




But most worrying of all is the statement from John Sentamu that “the comforts provided by the modern economy ‘come at a great cost to the natural environment and spiritual health’. 

Is he suggesting that we all go back to how we used to live before the modern economy?

I find this sort of moralising nauseating and offensive. To disrespect the wellbeing of ordinary people in this way is not how a man of the cloth should behave.

  1. John Palmer permalink
    July 13, 2018 10:20 am

    “I find this sort of moralising nauseating and offensive. To disrespect the wellbeing of ordinary people in this way is not how a man of the cloth should behave.”

    Quite so, Paul……however, if they’ll give me a bit of a discount, I’ll buy some of those shares from him!

  2. Paul Weeks permalink
    July 13, 2018 10:53 am

    Reading about this carry on earlier in the week I wrote to Canon Giles Goddard complaining that this policy (of discriminating against oil companies and promoting RE) is not helping the poor (from where Jesus gathered his flock). They are getting poorer from excessively high energy bills. Is this Christian?

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      July 13, 2018 6:17 pm

      No it isn’t.
      You have hit the nail on the head.

  3. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 13, 2018 10:58 am

    Disestablish the CofE and our economic difficulties will be solved … how Christian would that be? Their brainwashing is very similar to the Climate Lobby!

  4. Paul Weeks permalink
    July 13, 2018 10:59 am

    A friend has emailed me to say this is a 100% political decision after reading your blog.

  5. July 13, 2018 11:28 am

    As one who identifies as a “born-again” Christian, I find most of what comes from today’s iteration of the Church of England or our Episcopal version to be a odds with the Bible. We need a modern-day Martin Luther to bring hammer, nails and edict for their doors.

    Most of the so-called “mainline denominations” have gone to the left and embraced society debauchery as their cause celebre. They have never met a lack of morality they could not find a way to applaud. Those groups are losing membership and closing while non-denominational churches such as the small one I attend are growing.

    The only unforgivable sin to these inclusive elitists is being a Trump supporter.

    • Colin permalink
      July 14, 2018 8:10 am

      Well said sir. It’s possibly worse in the Church of Scotland. Mealy mouthed equivicotion about doctrine (sometimes outright heresy), but certainty about environmental and political issues. Most recently told us we should vote to stay in the EU.

      • July 14, 2018 11:47 am

        Here is a bit about the Scottish Revival:
        Two elderly sisters, Peggy and Christine Smith, who desperately prayed to see God move in their small Scottish fishing village helped spark the movement between 1949 and 1952 that became known as the Hebrides Revival.

        Mary Anne Smith MacLeod, niece of the two sisters emigrated from the Island of Lewis to America and met a gentleman named Frederick Trump. They married in January 1936 at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. On April 5, 1937, she gave birth to their first child Mary Anne Trump Barry, a United States Federal Judge, followed by Fredrick Jr. (1938–1981), Elizabeth (1942), Donald Trump 45th President of the United States (1946), and Robert (1948). The family attended Marble Collegiate Church pastored by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.

        An online post on the 2017 National Day of Prayer asked: “Coincidence or Holy Ghost? Not only did the revival reach the sisters’ Island in Scotland but the Hebrides Revival became known around the world. Little did they know that their great-nephew would one day become the President of the United States of America.”

        Donald took his oath of office, January 20, 2017, on the Bible his mother gave him.

  6. July 13, 2018 11:43 am

    Nice that the CofE can have complete faith in two entirely unprovable things. The NHS is a polluter and we all pay massive taxes to support their purchasing ‘carbon credits’ to ‘allow’ them to ‘pollute’. Sort of paying to have sins absolved. Or should we stop funding the NHS, taking the CofE line?

  7. Graeme No.3 permalink
    July 13, 2018 11:48 am

    Candles emit CO2 and particulates. Church graveyards attract perverts. Water running off Cathedral roofs* is contaminated with lead. There you are, 3 ready made ‘scares’ for the popular press to get the Church busy with other nonsense.
    * Tabloid ready spelling. I don’t need to specify girls in mini cassocks, I’m sure the papers will think of them.

  8. ben permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:10 pm

    Sort of ironic, to me most of the climate change / global warming nonsense is based on opinions (usually expressed as facts), aka beliefs, like most nonsense from religions is. However, beliefs do not explain a thing about science….

  9. Peter F Gill permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:19 pm

    I was tempted to comment “My God” but being at best an agnostic myself I thought such a comment would be inappropriate. Of course, the General Synod’s motives maybe more related to the unification of religions this time adding to its approach to Roman Catholics and the Pope that great and relatively new religion AGW.

    • July 14, 2018 9:39 pm

      Well, there goes my pension!
      However there are two bishops who don’t swallow the nonsense.
      Rt Revd Peter Forster (on the GWPF Board of Trustees)
      Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali

  10. Joe Public permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:23 pm

    “the comforts provided by the modern economy ‘come at a great cost to the natural environment and spiritual health’.

    That’s rich coming from an organisation that has to heat massively tall (7-8m), high-thermal-mass structures to keep congregations less than 2m-tall comforatble.

    1. They should turn off their heating.

    2. Congregation-size, and therefore collection-plate donations, then plummets.

    3. Their church building-fabric then rapidly deteriorates.

    It’s probably safe to say that their traditional church buildings exist ONLY because of fossil fuels.

  11. styleyem permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:24 pm

    Couldn’t they just ask the big man to move the Earth a little further away from the Sun?

  12. John Jessop permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:40 pm

    As an Anglican priest I am appalled by the Church’s position on this. A few years ago in the Gloucester diocesan synod I made a comment that CO2 tends to increase 800 years after warming. When the minutes came out my comment was not included but my challenge was deliberately ignored. It amazes me that well educated people can be so willfully ignorant.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    July 13, 2018 12:52 pm

    So the pension fund is in deficit and turning its nose up at some of the highest income earning stocks. Perhaps the fund members might like to consider how this virtue signalling will hit their retirement. And if they want to offer a discount to cleanse their eco souls, then count me in to help.

    • mikewaite permalink
      July 13, 2018 7:14 pm

      The trustees of the CoE pension fund are not in the least concerned or embarrassed at the deficit (that matches the BBC’s near – 2 billion deficit) because they know that it is in deficit the pensioners will be saved by the Pension Protection Fund.
      For those trustees a pathetic display of totally meaningless virtue signalling is more important than the proper commission of their responsibilities.
      That is what we have sunk to in this country.

  14. July 13, 2018 1:15 pm

    “But most worrying of all is the statement from John Sentamu that “the comforts provided by the modern economy ‘come at a great cost to the natural environment and spiritual health’.”

    See – this is the problem. In the middle ages and in fact right up to late Victorian times when one third of the population tended to die of untreatable illnesses and infant mortality meant that only one child in ever ten survived, people thought that all of this was an Act of God and so they flocked to the churches. Now we live in an age where everyone has basic health and at least a minimum of food, pandemics are a thing of the past and most babies survive. And yet hardly anybody goes to church. How can this be?

  15. Derek Buxton permalink
    July 13, 2018 2:01 pm

    They are probably like me, I was a regular churchgoer, once upon a time, But then it changed, the Words changed, as did the hymns and psalms, then “the New Bible” appeared, yuk! Now we have strange clergy playing politics instead of Preaching the Gospel and then damning the poor, not saving them, a travesty of religion.

    • John Jessop permalink
      July 13, 2018 11:12 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Mind you I did experience some rudeness when I dared to say from the pulpit that we should be thankful for CO2 and have nothing to fear from the benign climate which we currently enjoy.

      • Paddy permalink
        July 14, 2018 8:56 am

        Agree. Our (Scottish Episcopal) Church magazine often includes a bit of virtue signalling on climate change, which I am trying to have removed as it is contentious, divisive and scientifically inaccurate, showing a complete lack of Faith.

  16. Hivemind permalink
    July 13, 2018 2:20 pm

    “In any event, more than half the world’s oil production is controlled by the Middle East, Russia and China, where C of E divestment will have no effect at all.”

    Precisely. Their empty virtue signalling comes at no risk that they will have to modify their own lifestyles at all.

  17. Athelstan permalink
    July 13, 2018 2:38 pm

    The Church of cultural Marxism defeated God and now all is daubed in dayglo lurid bright Pink/ Green bespectacled indoctrination, charity, faith and hope all gone in the dustbin along with the rites and teachings of ‘the Word’.

    Bring back God? Never.

  18. markl permalink
    July 13, 2018 2:52 pm

    Investing in the stock market with a system tied to AGW is a loser bet.

  19. Paul Weeks permalink
    July 13, 2018 2:54 pm

    Just been reading Hansard 11.5.95 vol 259.
    Church commissers lost about £80 m of £800 m losses on a proposed development of farmland around Ashford. Remember?

    I am surprised they are not thinking of covering the farm with solar panels (if they still own it.

  20. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 13, 2018 3:19 pm

    Leaving aside the science, what makes our Bishops so sure that reducing CO2 emissions is the right thing to do? Just blindly accepting the atrocious and debunked Stern Report?

    We have many choices about what we could do, including waiting and seeing what actually happens for a bit. Stampeding like a herd of braindead buffaloes towards a definite increase in poverty seems very, very stupid.

  21. Tom O permalink
    July 13, 2018 3:32 pm

    And the church gets its “wealth” from the tithing of its members, I suppose, and that mostly from those that have the least. And it takes this money and “invests” it in retirement funds for its clergy. Fascinating. And then it wants to drive the cost of living up on those that support it by being virtuous and Gaia oriented. Yes, all true Christian virtues, I guess. And I stupidly thought the tithe was to assure those that needed the most were helped by those that had the most.

    And now I truly understand why I go to the desert and stand at the foot of a Saguaro, far from any nearby church to have my discussions with God as to what can be done by anyone to help further the “experiment” of humanity on planet Earth. It collects no tithe, but then again, it doesn’t create a “retirement program” for its clergy, either.

    And I always thought that the clergy considered their service to God and church goers to be their greatest pleasure, and their pay was just to provide for their basic needs while doing so. It appears, then, that the “church” has become an industry and not a service to humanity.

  22. Europeanonion permalink
    July 13, 2018 6:46 pm

    It makes me so sad that the religion I adhere to, rely on, has been hijacked only to reflect this sort of sentiment I wonder why my God provided all these riches of the Earth to care for those whom he created? Why He gave people purpose and comfort in the riches of commerce? The church is made distasteful by pointless ceremonial, unthinking repetitious responses, all the trademarks of superfluous Earthly cares making God almost superfluous; all that procrastination at a time when people have seldom needed council and comfort as much as they do today in this world .

    Whereas I have always thought that the presence of the Church in the Lords was an independent force for good beyond the day to day, a confiding and reconciliatory body that could use its powers of religious intervention as a means of guidance rather than, as seems, merely being another agenda. I wish now that the Lords would disestablish. Here we see that thing of Wolsey and More who, in so many ways, compromised the faith in which they dwelt to trade it for power to pursue their vendettas, personal shibboleths and to aggrandise themselves by the way. Here we see that sort of intervention that is typical of such a ‘Chancellor of England’.

    While nothing in themselves these Church leaders assume the mantle of the God they serve to give themselves airs. Where is their humility? Would they be better suited advising people as to how to pray and to look for answers within themselves rather than these overt political acts? They have misconstrued religion as being a socialist treatise rather than fulfilling their true role of assurance while regarding the independence of those whose conduct they guard with spiritual and mysterious liaisons on their behalf with the Deity. Maximum support with minimal intervention.

    I wrote to Lambeth Palace just before Christmas regarding circumstances relating to the matter at hand and was told that the Archbishop was in Canterbury with his family My correspondence, which was heartfelt, was left to a functionary who displayed such dismissive arrogance as not to suggest service in my best regards but self-importance and disdain. “I am His Majesty’s dog at Kew. Prey tell me whose dog are you?”

  23. Adam permalink
    July 13, 2018 7:57 pm

    Church of England is also seeking protection against bankruptcy. Pure coincidence

  24. saparonia permalink
    July 13, 2018 8:42 pm

    I don’t think “GOD” would support a LIE like global warming.

    What is the connection between a religious body and the LAW? Isn’t that the problem that non-believers have with Islam, that they want to impose their LAWS onto everyone else.

  25. sean2829 permalink
    July 14, 2018 2:34 am

    Kind of odd really. Church of England membership has fallen below a million members in the U.K. which is less than 2% of the population. It’s been contracting in size by 1% a year since the Second World War and the average age is increasing. Taking political positions that appeal to atheists won’t fix their real problems, people in pews rather than petrol in tanks.

  26. John F. Hultquist permalink
    July 14, 2018 5:03 am

    If we assume the C of E owns a lot of stock in these named companies and does decide to sell, let all of us know when that happens.
    Large blocks being sold will lower the price.
    Then is the time to invoke “Buy low. Sell high.”

  27. A Norwich Tory permalink
    July 14, 2018 6:45 am

    What is this ‘spiritual health’ that I should prefer to being warm this winter?

  28. DaveR permalink
    July 14, 2018 10:51 am

    “Residents across England have started receiving letters from the Land Registry, informing them that the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property. […] Responding to residents’ worries, the Church insisted that it has “no particular plans to mine under any property” but failed to rule out allowing fracking on its property.”

  29. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 15, 2018 3:13 pm

    Jesus wept. Or in one of the New Bibles ‘Jesus burst into tears ‘

    • July 15, 2018 3:28 pm

      … which just goes to show how bad some of the so-called translations are: weeping is not the same as bursting into tears. Give me the King James version any time. At least they went back to the oldest possible texts in the original language – and spent twenty years working on it.

  30. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 15, 2018 3:14 pm

    Shareholders should sue

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