The Church of England is to launch a new data analysis tool to help investors monitor companies’ climate-related risks.
The move comes as a
student-led campaign to persuade institutions to withdraw investments
from fossil fuels has reached $5.2 trillion USD (approximately £4.08
Meanwhile, a group of bishops in the US-based Episcopal
Church have questioned President-elect Trump’s decision to appoint
climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt has head of the Environmental
In May, the Church of England’s national investment bodies adopted a
new climate change investment policy that had been drawn up by the
province’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group.
The policy excluded two
groups of companies from potential investment: those that derive more
than 10 per cent of their revenues from the extraction of thermal coal
or the production of oil from tar sands.
The policy also committed the church’s investment bodies to active
engagement on climate change issues with companies they invest in.
Today, a C of E spokesman told ACNS that as part of its
engagement policy, a new Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) will be
launched in January 2017 to help investors keep track of companies’
climate related risks.
Pioneered by a partnership between the Church of England, the UK
Environment Agency Pension Fund and the London School of Economics, the
TPI will provide investors with accurate data to help them judge a
company’s actions on climate change.
The tool is currently undergoing
testing ahead of a public launch anticipated in the middle of January.
It will focus initially on companies in the mining, oil and gas,
automotive and electricity sectors before being rolled out to other
sectors. A number of investors have already been signed up to use the
The Divest-Invest Campaign held press conferences in
London and New York, to announce that the latest figures on climate
According to the campaign, churches and other
faith-based groups account for some 23 per cent of the total; a further
23 per cent is represented by charitable groups. Anglican churches in
Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Canada, Southern Africa and England are amongst those who have made moves in this area.
The Divest-Invest Campaign says that 688 organisations and 58,000
individuals around the world have committed to divesting their money
from fossil fuels.
Welcoming the announcement, the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, environmental
coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said that: “The
burning of fossil fuels is leading to climate change which will increase
poverty and hunger. We are on the cusp of a transition to green energy
and divestment is a practical action that churches can take to encourage
this transition to take place more quickly.”
In his current role as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt has
filed numerous law suits against the US Environmental Protection
Agency, including a legal bid to halt President Barack Obama’s Clean
Power Plan, which is designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from
coal-fired power plants.
In an open letter to President-elect Trump, the bishops of Western
Massachusetts, Douglas Fisher, and Massachusetts, Alan Gates, alongside a
suffragan and two retired bishops, challenge the appointment of Pruitt
as EPA administrator.
"The Episcopal Church stands strongly for the protection of the
environment,” they said. “We respect the facts of science. We support
laws and policies that address the reality of climate change. We are in
the process of divesting our financial interests in fossil fuels. . .
“Our respect for government leaders and our reverence for the earth
as God’s creation impel us to write to you to express our dismay” about
the appointment of Scott Pruitt. “We wonder why a person who has
consistently and adamantly opposed all laws and policies that provide
even minimal ‘protection’ to the environment should be trusted with
leading such an agency.”
The bishops say that climate change is a matter of national security,
and – quoting senior US military intelligence officers – say that
climate change is a ”threat multiplier” that is “already creating
instability around the world and will likely create significant security
challenges in the years ahead.”