Monday, October 26, 2015

The Anglican Diocese of Montreal Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels

The Anglican Diocese of Montreal Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels On Friday October 16, 2015, the Diocese of Montreal voted by an overwhelming margin to divest from fossil fuels at their annual synod. The motion was advanced by the Stewardship of the Environment Committee. The motion specifically called for divestment from the Carbon Underground 200, a list of the dirtiest coal and oil companies in the world.

Montreal is the first Anglican diocese in Canada to pass such a divestment motion. Although others have voted to study divestment, Montreal is the first diocese to pass a motion with specific actionable plans that must be executed in a "timely" fashion.

The former chair of the Stewardship of the Environment Committee, Raymond Noel brought the motion to the floor, he yielded his time to Richard Matthews who had received floor privileges allowing him to speak in support of the motion. Richard's presentation focused on the importance of divestment to combat the climate change and preserve human health. He indicated that as Anglicans we are called to vote for divestment as a social justice issue. He also made the point that fossil fuels are a risky investment that are no longer providing good returns. He argued the merits of renewable energy in terms of return on investment, jobs and the economy. He also reviewed some of the organizations that have divested including a wide assortment of faith communities.

After a number of comments from the floor and a friendly amendment that was denied, the current Chair of the Stewardship of the Environment Committee, Rev Elizabeth Welch made a passionate and personal plea to support divestment as a matter of faith.

The motion was then put to a vote and it garnered the support of roughly 80 percent of those in attendance at Synod.

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