Friday, May 6, 2016

Fossil Fuel Divestment Motion for General Synod 2016

GENERAL SYNOD 2016
RESOLUTION

Subject: Fossil Fuel Divestment
Moved By: Archdeacon David Selzer, Ottawa
Seconded By: Reverend Monique Stone, Ottawa

Be it resolved that this General Synod: direct the managers of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Consolidated Trust Fund to divest the Fund of holdings in fossil fuel extraction companies, as defined by fossilfreeindexes.com, and, where possible to reinvest in renewable energy industries.

Source: Memorial to General Synod passed at the 2015 Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa

Submitted By: Archdeacon David Selzer

Does this motion contain within it any financial implications? No If yes, has the General Synod Expenditures Committee considered the implications? Yes No

EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND

This resolution derives from a Memorial to General Synod from the Synod meeting the Diocese of Ottawa, on October 31st 2015. The Memorial, which was supported by over 95% of Ottawa delegates, was passed alongside a motion that commits the Diocese of Ottawa to fossil fuel divestment.

Similar motions have been passed by the Dioceses of Montreal, Huron, Qu├ębec, and Toronto, as well as several of our ecumenical brothers and sisters, including the United Church of Canada.

Below is the rationale for the Memorial and for this resolution.

“The climate change crisis is the most urgent moral issue of our day.” This is the conclusion of an international group of Anglican bishops, including two Canadian bishops, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald and Bishop of Edmonton Jane Alexander, who met in February 2015 in Johannesburg to discuss the Church’s response to climate change. In the ir report, The World is Our Host, the bishops urge Anglicans to act. One action they recommend is supporting “environmental sustainability and justice by divesting from industries involved primarily in the extraction or distribution of fossil fuels.”

Why do the bishops say that climate change is the most urgent moral issue of our time? Because it is immoral to allow the widespread environmental and social destruction that climate change entails, given that we know how to avoid it. If we continue burnin g fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas), the extreme hurricanes, floods, and droughts we have seen over the past few years will pale in comparison to those to come. Within the next few decades more than half of the world’s people will be living in areas of severe food and water shortages due to intense, persistent drought, leading to millions of climate change refugees.

If we let this happen, there is no going back. But we can still stop it before it becomes catastrophic. This will require a very rapid shift, completely away from the fossil fuel-based economy, to an economy based on renewable energy. At the Paris climate summit in December 2015, the nations of the world, including Canada, agreed that to avoid climate catastrophe we need to limit the average global temperature increase to less than 2°C above the pre-industrial average. To accomplish this, 80% of known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground, never to be extracted and burned.

Publicized divestment is a symbolic gesture intended to press governments to implement policy change. For example, the anti-apartheid divestment movement was instrumental in convincing the South African government to end apartheid, even though it did not directly affect the South African companies that were its target. Similarly, the objective of fossil fuel divestment is to send the message to governments that they must quickly implement policies to move the economy off fossil fuels and onto renewable energy, in time to avoid climate calamity. Fossil fuel divestment focuses on the fossil fuel extraction industry because this industry is at the base of the fossil fuel economy. Governments that support continuation of the fossil fuel-based economy implicitly deny the reality of climate change, and condemn people around the world to an impossible future.

In our baptismal covenant we promise to “safeguard the integrity of God's creation.” Climate change is destroying the integrity of God’s creation, and if we have investments in the fossil fuel extraction industry, we are complicit in this destruction. Therefore, we request that the Anglican Church of Canada divest from major fossil fuel extraction companies.

Related
Catholic Orders Heed Pope Francis and Divest from Fossil Fuels
Divesting from Fossil Fuels: Open Letter from Faith Leaders
Jesus Calls Us to Take a Stand Against Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuel Divestment Presentation Delivered at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Anglican Diocese of Quebec Fully Divested from Fossil Fuels
350.org Coverage of the Divestment Motion in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Montreal Anglicans Vote to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
The Anglican Diocese of Montreal Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Facts Sheet: Five FAQ about the Motion to Divest from Fossil Fuels in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Report on Faith Based Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Why I Support the Divestment from Fossil Fuels Motion in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal
Climate Change and Faith: Why We Are Asking the Diocese to Divest from Fossil Fuel
United Church of Canada Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
A Role Call of Faith Groups Divesting from Fossil Fuels
Faith Communities Divest Holdings in Fossil Fuel Industry
Why Faith Communities Must Divest from Fossil Fuels
The Religious Imperative for Fossil Fuel Divestment and Reinvestment in a Clean Energy Future
Church of England Adopts New Climate Change and Ethical Investment Policy that Includes Divestment
Episcopal Church Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels as a Moral Issue
WCC at International Divestment Conference in Paris
Divestment and Reinvestment Resource: Fossil Free Faith

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