PRESS RELEASE: ‘Pope Francis’ and ‘Martin Luther’ Call for a Radical Reformation of the Economy to Tackle Climate Change

5th December 2017

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A direct action protest was held yesterday outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Members of Christian Climate Action held a vigil, performed street theatre and used red spray paint to call for a radical reformation of the economy to protect humankind and abundant life on earth from climate change.

spray-painting

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, ‘Pope Francis’ and ‘Martin Luther’ visited BEIS to remind our government of their commitments to tackle climate change under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act. A litany for the earth was said while the Catholic priest Martin Newell (50) and Phil Kingston (81), dressed as Pope Francis and Martin Luther, wrote ‘Radical Reformation of the Economy now’ and ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ in red paint on the department’s plaque.

The police were called, but the department decided not to press charges at this time.

Caroline Harmon, a member of Christian Climate Action, said:

IMG_7808.JPG‘We disagree with the premise of the department that climate instability can be solved as part of a strategy for economic growth. The short-term health of the economy is being prioritised above the health of the planet. Whilst we welcome some elements of the department’s recently published Clean Growth Strategy, it just isn’t enough to meet our Paris Agreement targets. The state of creation is desperate. We have all the information, science and technology we need to lead the world away from the cliff-edge of climate instability towards a sustainable future. Whether we have the time is debatable. We must act now.’

 

IMG_7793Fr. Martin Newell said:

‘Current government policy, as implemented by this department, is ignoring the major threat and reality of climate change, much as the people of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time ignored his warnings of impending destruction for their city if they did not repent and change their ways.  The changes needed include a move away from the persistent idolatry of never ending economic growth, on the altar of which god climate, people and the life of the planet are being sacrificed.’

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Phil Kingston, who is a grandfather, said,

‘Our action today was an act of penance as well as witness for our complicity in climate change. It was a small thing, but faith can move mountains.’

 

ENDS

 

Contact Ruth Jarman: 07970 907784

 

Notes for Editors:

 

  1. More photos are available here or here.
  2. A letter explaining the reasons for the protest that was delivered to the department on the day and the leaflet that was handed out to passers-by can be found at the bottom of this page.
  3. The Litany for the Earth that was said is here.
  4. The short drama sketch was made up primarily of actual quotes from Pope Francis and Martin Luther.
  5. In Laudate Si, Pope Francis writes, ‘The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.’
  6. Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in acts of non-violent direct action and public witness, as a way of following Jesus Christ in the face of climate breakdown.
  7. https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.comThe Government’s recent Clean Growth Strategy leaves the UK significantly off track achieving its targets according to Carbon Brief. https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-how-the-clean-growth-strategy-hopes-to-deliver-uk-climate-goals
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PRESS RELEASE: Christian Vigil to Call for a Radical Reformation to Tackle Climate Change

23rd November 2017

Photo Opportunity: Monday 4th December, 12pm, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Christian Climate Action are inviting people to join a vigil and street theatre outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 4thDecember to call for a radical reformation of the economy to ensure we protect humankind and abundant life on earth from climate change.

In the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, ‘Pope Francis’ and ‘Martin Luther’ will visit BEIS to remind our government of their commitments to tackle climate change under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act. There will also be a vigil, to which all are invited, to pray for the department, for our country, and all of us, to do what is required to protect God’s earth.

Caroline Harmon, a member of CCA said:

‘We disagree with the premise of the department that climate instability can be solved as part of a strategy for economic growth. The short-term health of the economy is being prioritised above the health of the planet. Whilst we welcome some elements of the department’s recently published Clean Growth Strategy, it just isn’t enough to meet our Paris Agreement targets. The state of creation is desperate. We have all the information, science and technology we need to lead the world away from the cliff-edge of climate instability towards a sustainable future. Whether we have the time is debatable. We must act now.’

Anyone who would like to join us can find out more on our website: https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com

ENDS

Contact Ruth Jarman: 07970 907784

Notes for Editors:

  1. Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in acts of non-violent direct action and public witness, as a way of following Jesus Christ in the face of climate breakdown. https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. A letter explaining the reasons for the protest will be delivered to the department on the day and will be up on the web site soon.
  3. The Government’s recent Clean Growth Strategy leaves the UK significantly off track achieving its targets according to Carbon Brief. https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-how-the-clean-growth-strategy-hopes-to-deliver-uk-climate-goals

PRESS RELEASE: Pressure mounts on Church of England to divest from Exxon

 

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21 September 2017

Christian campaigners are calling on the Church of England to disinvest from US oil giant ExxonMobil, on the basis of new evidence that the company intentionally misled the public on climate change.

Last night (Wednesday 20 September), supporters of Operation Noah and Christian Climate Action held a vigil outside Church House in London, the home of Church of England investors, to pray that they would cut financial ties with Exxon.

A recent peer-reviewed study published by Harvard academics shows that ExxonMobil knew about climate change in the 1970s, yet its public communications intentionally cast doubt over whether climate change was real and caused by human activity. ExxonMobil is currently under investigation by the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts, as well as the FBI, over whether the company misled the public about the risks of climate change.

Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action said: ‘As tragic extreme weather events across the world highlight the consequences of inaction on climate change, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a company which we now know is responsible for at least some of this inaction. It cannot be right for a church, which should be providing moral leadership, to ignore Exxon’s gross corporate social irresponsibility.’

James Buchanan of Operation Noah said: ‘We believe that the Church of England should immediately divest from ExxonMobil. The ethical grounds for divestment are now overwhelming. The possibility that, following recent extreme weather events in the US, oil companies may face climate lawsuits also means that investors should divest now or face the risk of significant financial losses.’

Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah, rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath, said: ‘It is now clear that ExxonMobil engineered a thirty year campaign to mislead the public on the scientific evidence for climate change. Their current business plan for the coming decades, while acknowledging that climate change is real and dangerous, proceeds with a business-as-usual approach. The Church of England, by continuing to invest in ExxonMobil, participates in their reckless exploitation of God’s world. It is time for the Church to take its money elsewhere. Anything less would mean failing to live up to our prophetic calling.’

Prayer and public witness against fracking

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We travelled around the Midlands yesterday, praying at potential fracking sites:

On Tuesday 22nd August, members of Christian Climate Action drove to sites in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to publicly pray against local plans to explore for oil and gas.  

Members of the local community were grateful for their presence.

‘I hope it works – we have been praying since January!’ said a passing driver as the group stopped to pray at a site in Marsh Lane, the first site in Derbyshire that has submitted a planning application.  

At Tinker Lane, the second site in Nottinghamshire that has been granted planning permission for an exploratory well, the group met a member of the local opposition group.

The final stop was Shirebrook Woods – a Forestry Commission-managed part of Sherwood Forest.

‘Surrounded by beautiful countryside, it was easy to give thanks and praise for God’s creation,’ said Christian Climate Action’s Ruth Jarman. ‘But it was hard to imagine a 60m high drilling rig towering over the fields and forests, a symbol of the utter folly of continuing to explore for more oil and gas when we must leave 90% of all known reserves in the ground to maintain abundant life on earth as we know it. It felt right to be here.  We prayed for strength and perseverance for the local opposition groups and for repentance and conversion of people in the gas companies and government, and all of us, as we seek to learn to live within our means in God’s earth.’

Film and Press Release: Divest Exxon Day

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BBC South Today filmed the whole day and they have kindly let us have their film.

Grandparents for a Safe Earth also made this video.

PRESS RELEASE 1st JUNE

FIRST EVER CLIMATE CHANGE DEMO OUTSIDE EXXONMOBIL FAWLEY REFINERY CALLS ON CHURCH TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS

Yesterday, the day of ExxonMobil’s AGM, a coalition of faith and non-faith groups staged events to call for the Church of England to divest from the company.

Renewables are foreverEarly in the morning, demonstrators gathered outside Fawley refinery, handing leaflets to staff as they entered. Then at 4pm, faith and non-faith groups held a vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral before delivering a letter into the office of the Bishop of Salisbury, the lead bishop for Environmental Affairs in the Church of England, requesting that the Church divests from ExxonMobil.

Hours before the passing of a resolution on climate change at ExxonMobil’s AGM in Houston –  put forward by a group of institutional investors, including the Church of England – campaigners called on the Church to sell its shares in the company whatever the outcome of the vote.

Time to Cycle lead a bike ride through the New Forest between the two locations.

Dave and barrieRuth Jarman, a member of the Church of England said, ‘When the Church should be showing moral leadership to protect the millions of lives devastated every year by climate change, they’re being taken for a ride by the very company causing the problem. By continuing to hope that ExxonMobil is going to change its stripes, the Church of England is buying cover for one of the most notorious companies blocking action on climate change, including funding climate denying politicians and fake science.

‘The Church of England needs to wake up, follow the example of hundreds of other faith leaders around the world and cut its ties with these companies. The church should be filling the moral void created by these companies, not falling into it.’

Sigurd Reimers, of Grandparents for a Safe Earth, said, ‘Shareholder engagement is often an excellent way to make a company more ethical. But it takes time. And we don’t have time. This resolution is a ‘step zero’ in the task of fixing ExxonMobil.  It is simply asking ExxonMobil to disclose the effect of climate change on its business when we should be asking the exact opposite – for it to disclose the effect of its business on climate change.  And to act on that information.’  

IMG_6725Alison Craig, of the Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, said, ‘The passing of the resolution at the AGM is a dangerous distraction.  It merely asks the company to disclose financial figures that have nothing whatsoever to do with cleaning-up their business. In the meantime, the Church will continue to make money out of causing climate change. This is wrong. The Church of England needs to get out of oil and gas, starting with ExxonMobil.’

Notes to editors

  1.    Fawley is the only ExxonMobil refinery in the UK, and is the largest and most complex in Europe.
  2.    The flyer that was handed to staff explaining the unethical behaviour of ExxonMobil is here.
  3.    The AGM resolution by a group of investors, including the Church of England, called for ExxonMobil to disclose the extent to which global action to tackle climate change will negatively impact the company’s future earnings. The Resolution was passed by 62.3% of the vote despite strong opposition from the ExxonMobil Board.
  4.    The strategy of ‘engagement’ by the Church with fossil fuel companies does not go far enough for divestment campaigners. For example a letter to the Church Times by 3 bishops and 27 other clergy on 5/5/17 called for the church pensions board to divest from fossil fuels.
  5.    In 2015 the Church moved to divest £12m from tar sands oil and thermal coal from its £9bn fund but has resisted calls for all out fossil fuel divestment. Church Commissioners have declined to disclose the sum invested in ExxonMobil, thought to be millions: their Annual Report (page 78) discloses the identity of their top 20 holdings only.
  6.    On 15th May 2017 The Guardian reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, may have played a crucial role in the decision by the investment company BMO Global Asset Management, to dump £20m of shares in firms such as BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, because of climate change. The Archbishop is President of BMO’s responsible investment committee.
  7.    More information on the Divest ExxonMobil Day can be found at https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/divest-ExxonMobil-day-join-us/
  8.    The campaigners’ coalition includes 350.org, Christian Climate Action, Fossil Free UK,  Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Salisbury Greenpeace, Time to Cycle.
  9.    There is a petition to register support for the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels here.

10.The fossil fuel divestment movement saw its beginnings in North America, Europe and Australia and has since become the fastest growing divestment movement in history.  Global commitments to divest have already reached 710 institutions across 76 countries, representing well over US$5.5 trillion in assets under management.

ENDS

BBC South Today filmed the whole day and they have kindly let us have their film.

And Exxon very kindly put up a fence for our banner:

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DIVEST EXXON DAY

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There are now photos, video and a press release about this event.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by the atrocity in Manchester this week.  Climate change can only exacerbate some of the main causes of terrorism – one response to Monday night is to continue to fight for a stable climate.  

A coalition* of faith and non-faith groups are joining together to call for the Church of England to divest from ExxonMobil on Wed 31st May.

Join us for a pick-and-mix day of banner holding, leafleting, cycling and contemplation!  There are three activities:

  1. Demo outside Exxon’s Fawley refinery. Meet at 06:00 for 06:30 start in the field next to Fawley Church SO45 1SQ. Has to be this early to engage with staff/contractors/media. Only an hour or so. Plenty of public parking on Church Lane between the village and the refinery (Map of Fawley).  The demo (and the parking) will comply with legitimate public protest and police requirements.

ttc2. Time to Cycle bike ride between the two venues (optional).  Meet in the field next to Fawley Church SO45 1SQ. Leaving at 9.30am. Please alert all keen cyclists in your area! Cycling route maps will be organised. We are hoping to have a cycling support vehicle available. Trains home accessible from Salisbury Railway Station.

Salisbury_Cathedral_from_the_Bishop_Grounds_c.18253. Divest Exxon Vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral. Meet at 4pm outside the High Street (north) entrance to the Cathedral Close. Vigil for all faiths and none, probably one hour. A letter requesting that the Church of England divests from ExxonMobil will be handed to the office of the Bishop of Salisbury, the lead bishop for Environmental Affairs in the Church of England.

Why Exxon?

In our opinion Exxon is an unethical company. There is evidence they covered up their early knowledge of climate change and they are currently under investigation by the Attorney Generals of several US states. There is evidence they have been funding climate denial organisations for decades.  They are giving every indication they intend to continue extracting fossil fuels beyond the earth’s internationally agreed safety limit of max 2 degrees warming.

Why Fawley?

Fawley is the only ExxonMobil refinery in the UK, and is the largest and most complex in Europe.

Why 31st May?

We picked Wed 31st May, because this is the date of the ExxonMobil AGM in Houston, USA. At this AGM, a coalition of investors, including the Church of England, will be pressing the company to disclose the extent to which global action to tackle climate change will negatively impact the company’s future earnings.

Shareholder engagement is often an excellent way to make a company more ethical.  But it takes time.  And we don’t have time.  And this resolution is a ‘step zero’ in the task of fixing Exxon.  It is simply asking Exxon to disclose the effect of climate change on its business when we should be asking the exact opposite – for it to disclose the effect of its business on climate change.  And to act on that information.  The current resolution, with its focus on finance and taking the most minor of steps possible in this race against time is participating in the lie that the science going on in our atmosphere will wait around until we can be bothered to fix it. In these post-truth times, we think that the Church needs to stand up for truth and beware of being used to add colour and shine to the image of these companies whose business plans are set to destroy Earth’s ability to sustain life as we know it. The resolution is a distraction. The Church of England needs to get out of oil and gas, starting with Exxon.  If the motion is defeated, they must divest from Exxon.  If the motion goes through, they must divest from Exxon.

Why the Church of England?

The Church of England says it is an ethical investor, and has divested from some coal and tar sands.  But it still has millions invested in Exxon.

The vigil will express support for a recent divestment decision that may have been influenced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the letter to the Church Times by 3 bishops and 27 other clergy on 5/5/17 on why the church pensions board should divest from fossil fuels


If you agree that good people’s money should not be invested in a bad company, please join us for one of, or all of our Divest Exxon Day!  Hoping to see you there.  This is, politically, a cross-party event. Like-minded groups welcome. Musicians welcome. Coffee, tea, butties and cake especially welcome!

Please drum up as much support for this as you can. We want – we need – divestment. 

Whether or not you make it, if you would like to register your support for the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels, there is a petition here.

For more information, email christianclimateaction@gmail.com .

*The coalition includes 350.orgChristian Climate Action, Fossil Free UK,  Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Salisbury GreenpeaceTime to Cycle, Wessex Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement.

Staged wedding calls for Church of England to break its engagement with fossil fuels

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

4th May 2017

Staged wedding calls for Church of England to break its engagement with fossil fuels

Contact Caroline Harmon: 07954 377569

Photo Opportunity: Dean’s Yard, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ, Monday 8th May, midday

Christian Climate Action is staging a wedding between the Church of England and fossil fuels, to protest the Church’s continued investment in the industry. The sketch and short prayer vigil will take place in front of Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, on Monday 8th May at midday.

The event, which is timed to be part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, aims to encourage the Church of England to show moral leadership and divest from companies causing climate change. Currently the Church is pursuing a policy of engagement – holding shares in the industry and using shareholder status to try to change the industry’s behaviour. Christian Climate Action believes that engagement cannot work because there is not enough time for it to prevent runaway climate change which will have a catastrophic impact on people and God’s creation. The group alsos do not think it is right for the Church to profit from an industry that is making money from wrecking the earth’s climate.

Caroline Harmon of Christian Climate Action said:

The Church of England claims to be a responsible investor, and has a strong moral voice. It claims to understand the threat and urgency of climate change, yet instead of divesting from the biggest fossil fuel companies, they continue to engage. As part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation we have invited the Church Commissioners to the wedding of the Church and fossil fuels, where we’ll highlight the impacts of climate change and pray for more urgent action.’

All are welcome to attend the event, and are invited to come dressed for a wedding.

ENDS

Contact Caroline Harmon: 07954 377569

Notes for editors:

  1. Global Divestment Mobilisation is a week of action around the globe to encouraging divestment from the fossil fuel industry: https://globaldivestmentmobilisation.org/
  2. Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in following Jesus Christ in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, in acts of non-violent direct action. We are based in the UK. https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com