Responding to the Climate Emergency
Evidence continues to mount that the Earth is warming and yet greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The scale of the effort required to reduce carbon emissions is vast, yet while some steps have been taken they are nowhere near sufficient to meet the challenge.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that mean surface temperature is now 1°C above pre-industrial levels. At the current rate, global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. Unless drastic action is taken, it is likely to exceed 3°C. Even at increases of 1.5°C or 2°C, the changes to weather patterns and sea levels will be substantial and in some cases irreversible.
The CFB has long been concerned about global warming. Our first policy was produced in 2009 alongside the publication of Hope in God’s Future, a Methodist report which became a statement of the Methodist Conference. It commits us to working for lower carbon emissions across our portfolios. We also have a policy on climate change and power generation, which commits us to assessing carbon intensity and avoiding exposure to coal-fired power stations. Our third policy looks at the ethical implications of different fuel types: we commit to avoiding significant exposure to coal and tar sands production, and avoid investing in companies wholly focused on finding new carbon assets.
Most recently, we have been looking again at fossil fuel companies. We have been assessing them against the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to “well below 2°C”. Companies have been assessed under five categories with up to 25 different metrics. This work has led to the exclusion from investment on ethical grounds of most of the major oil companies. Those we continue to hold are subject to intense scrutiny and engagement.
There is little doubt that fossil fuel use needs to fall significantly. Energy suppliers, distributors, and companies and consumers need to shift demand to sustainable energy sources and deploy significant energy efficiency measures. The flip side of reduced fossil fuel demand is lower production of fossil fuels. Both supply and demand sides need to align with a lower carbon world.
Here we bring together our policies and information about our work helping to tackle global warming while aiming to deliver long term, ethical, and sustainable returns.
The climate emergency and the oil and gas sector
The Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church has sold holdings in its funds in oil companies BP and Total on climate change grounds. We have also excluded a further ten companies from any future investment and have put the handful of remaining oil and gas investments on notice that we are looking for more radical change from them soon to address the climate emergency. Read more →
Climate change metrics
To determine the extent to which companies were aligned with the Paris Agreement, with the endorsement of the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI), the CFB identified five categories around which to build a baseline assessment of fossil fuel companies. This methodology was endorsed by Methodist Conference in 2018. Read more →
JACEI update to Methodist Conference 2020
The JACEI work assessing oil and gas companies has continued in the past quarter. A regular JACEI meeting was held in June. Read more →