First Christian Denomination Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuel, Hopes to be Model for Others

UCC pastor Jim Antal at White House
UCC pastor Jim Antal at White House

The United Church of Christ, a reformed Protestant denomination of with more than 5,200 congregations and one million members, voted yesterday to divest from fossil fuel companies as a step toward serious action to combat climate change. They are the first church body in the world and the first national body of any kind to call for divestment from fossil fuel companies as a way of addressing climate change.

[This report is compiled from several news sources.]

“This resolution seeks to use movement toward divestment to increase awareness of the damage to our environment and to create public pressure on fossil fuel companies to leave 80 percent of fossil fuel reserves in the ground,” UCC pastor Vicki Kemper said at the annual meeting of the Massachusettes UCC region that sent the resolution to the General Synod. “That’s right – we’re essentially asking them to walk away from $20 trillion in resources.”

Kemper acknowledged that if all religious groups and colleges and universities – where the divestment movement began – divested, only 2 percent of fossil fuel stock would be impacted. But, she said: “The only power we have in this challenge is the moral, spiritual power to revoke the social licenses of these companies to continue to profit from wrecking the earth. The question is – will we exercise that power?”

According to the news report: The resolution, brought by the Massachusetts Conference and backed by 10 other conferences, calls for enhanced shareholder engagement in fossil fuel companies, an intensive search for fossil fuel-free investment vehicles and the identification of “best in class” fossil fuel companies by General Synod 2015.

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Super Bowl Lights Out: Our Half-Lit Climate Future

“Last night’s power outage at the Super Bowl gave the world a glimpse of the daily challenges many New Orleans residents still face in the wake of rebuilding post-Katrina. Thanks to misplaced priorities that place war and partisan politics over our nation’s infrastructure needs, cities like New Orleans suffer. From New Jersey to New Orleans and beyond, we have watched recovery dollars spent in discriminatory ways. Suburban, more affluent areas and tourist zones get the lion’s share and communities — especially low resource communities and communities of color — wait for months and even years for relief. Studies published by the National Housing Institute and others have shown how these historic patterns of racism exacerbate present-day gaps but there has been no significant policy effort to address this inequity. The fact that New Orleans got the lights back on so quickly is a testament to its resilience and know-how. However, cities cannot put the lights back on or undertake the gargantuan task of rebuilding without their fair share of public dollars.”–Makani Themba, executive director of The Praxis Project