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.’

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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.’

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

 

PRESS RELEASE: Christians Found Guilty for Climate Protest

Monday 31st May 2016

The five members of Christian Climate Action outside court after the verdict

Five Christians have been found guilty today of causing criminal damage when they whitewashed the walls of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). On the first day of the Paris climate conference in November of last year, the members of Christian Climate Action exposed the department’s hypocrisy by whitewashing its walls and rebranding it the ‘Department for Extreme Climate Change’ in black paint.

Their case was held in front of a crowded public gallery as around 25 supporters of action against climate change gathered at Hammersmith Magistrates Court to pray and vigil throughout the day. The defendants, who represented themselves, did not dispute their presence at the scene or the actions attributed to them, but argued that they had a ‘lawful excuse’ under section 5 of the Criminal Damage Act.

Speaking after the verdict, Father Martin Newell said:

‘Pope Francis has called on Christians to go further in opposing climate change and we have tried to answer that call in faithfulness to Jesus who was also tried and found guilty by a court.

‘As a Catholic I believe in the power of symbols and symbolic actions and our actions symbolically highlighted that this department is whitewashing the truth of what’s happening. This is urgent – climate change is already happening and people are already dying.’

Phil Kingston, 80, and the oldest member of the group, said:

‘I was speaking on behalf of my grandchildren and the uncertain future they face. Preventing unnecessary deaths is an integral part of our humanity. When we do what we believe is right, good will come. I have regularly questioned what to do when democratic processes yielded no progress and warnings were ignored and have concluded that, as with other successful protest movements, non-violent direct action is the answer.’

Ruth Jarman, 53, said:

‘We do not agree with today’s judgement. The point of the law is to maintain justice, stability and order. Climate change threatens all these things so fundamentally that the law should be used to defend those who are trying to stop climate change, not those who are creating it. We think DECC should have been in the dock, not us. The department speaks fine words, but its actions scupper any possibility of sufficient global action on climate change.’

Helen Whitall, 32, said:

‘What we did was reasonable under the circumstance. As a Christian I feel that whilst it is essential to always act out of love for God and others, I have a responsibility to speak out against injustice to protect all that God loves, human and non-human, which may at times involve non-violent direct action in the tradition of Christ and the prophets where I feel justice and truth are being silenced.’

Westley Ingram, 39, said:

‘The climate talks in Paris were akin to leaders gathered in a burning house agreeing to only buy flame retardant furniture in the future. I do not believe we have damaged DECC’s building, because we have not affected its utility; if we have done anything, it is to damage the propaganda value of the building by exposing it for what it really is.’

The group has received support from a number of theologians. Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh, said,

‘Without such acts in the history of the United Kingdom, the vote would not have been conferred on non-land owning citizens, nor on women, and we would not have ended slavery, or forced child labour in our factories. Civil disobedience is essential to democracy provided it harms no one. The actions of these protestors were a non-violent and peaceable way to expose the hypocrisy of current UK government energy policies. The UK has the potential still to lead the world towards the new sustainable energy economy that the climate crisis calls for and this type of action is essential to the democratic process in the UK.’

The five were ordered to pay £340 each.

ENDS

 

Editors Notes:

  1. More information, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website: www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. Ruth’s statement explaining her actions in court is here:  https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/ruths-defence-statement-2/
  3. A video of our action: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/climate-change-activists-vandalise-government-building-ahead-of-paris-climate-talks-a6754496.html
  4. The letter handed into DECC at the time of the action: https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/dear-amber-the-letter-we-handed-in-to-decc-to-explain-our-re-branding-exercise/

 

PRESS RELEASE:Call for ‘cloud of witnesses’ to support Christian climate protesters on trial

Monday 23rd May 2016

Contact: Ruth Jarman 07970 907784 / 01252 849904

Climate Change_149Supporters of action against climate change are invited to gather in front of Hammersmith Magistrates Court at 9am on Tuesday 31st May to pray and vigil as five Christian climate activists go on trial for whitewashing the walls of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

On the first day of the Paris climate conference in November of last year, five members of Christian Climate Action exposed the hypocrisy of the Department of Energy and Climate Change by whitewashing its walls and rebranding it the Department for Extreme Climate Change in black paint. The protesters were arrested and charged with criminal damage.

The activists will enter court at 9:15am. After this there will be short vigils on the hour and half hour outside court throughout the day. Supporters are welcome to join these vigils at any time throughout the day for as short or long a time as they wish. More details: http://tinyurl.com/hp2v3h4

One of the five, Westley Ingram, said,

‘We stand everyday before a Judge who holds us to account. This day in court must be considered in this light. There are two judges, two laws and two authorities ruling on our actions and one must be subservient to the other. The conduct of this government through DECC is on trial today as well ourselves. We encourage Christians to consider whether civil disobedience may be considered holy obedience when the law of the land is in conflict with the law of love as exemplified by Jesus Christ.’

Phil Kingston, 80, said:

‘I am looking forward to speaking on behalf of my grandchildren and their generation, and the generations who will follow them: to continue to add to this unprecedented concentration of greenhouse gases when we know that they are causing climate change is, I believe, to cause criminal damage at a worldwide level.’

Helen Whitall, said:

‘What we did was reasonable under the circumstance. As a Christian I feel that whilst it is essential to always act out of love for God and others, I have a responsibility to speak out against injustice to protect all that God loves, human and non-human, which may at times involve non-violent direct action in the tradition of Christ and the prophets where I feel justice and truth are being silenced.’

Ruth Jarman, said:
‘For 20 years I have been campaigning on climate change and it is clear to me that lawful political action is not being heeded. When we look back to times when governments and their laws were wrong we revere those who broke the law to stand up for what is right. In many cases peaceful civil disobedience enabled the change to a better society. The law is here to keep order and peace but climate change is set to bring unimaginable chaos and breakdown of global civil society. Campaigning to the limit of the law and then standing by and watching the destruction of what God has made can’t be right. When there is a mismatch between obeying the laws of our country and those of God, I have to go with the latter. It is Christian obedience, rather than civil disobedience. For me, being a Christian requires me to listen to my conscience and act accordingly.’

The group has received support from a number of theologians. The scholar, writer and broadcaster, Professor Alastair McIntosh said,

‘Christian Climate Action is a howl of prophetic protest against the kings of our time, who have turned their backs on caring for the Creation, and imagine they can do so with spiritual impunity.’

Professor Tim Gorringe, Emeritus Professor of Theological Studies at the University of Exeter, said:

‘Wendell Berry speaks of organized Christianity as a “respecter and comforter of profitable iniquities”. This includes war, in all its forms, which is blessed and hallowed in every Cathedral and in most parish churches, and support for an economic system which threatens to make human life on earth impossible. Both are in contradiction of every single line of the Messianic Writings. To be Church, which is disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, is to protest these blasphemies and to call for a politics and an economy which is answerable to the God of Life.’

ENDS

Contact: Ruth Jarman 07970 907784 / 01252 849904

Editors Notes:
More information, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website: http://www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
A video of our action: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/climate-change-activists-vandalise-government-building-ahead-of-paris-climate-talks-a6754496.html
The letter handed into DECC at the time of the action: https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/dear-amber-the-letter-we-handed-in-to-decc-to-explain-our-re-branding-exercise/
The statement read out by one of the five, Ruth Jarman, at her police interview following arrest: https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/ruth-jarmans-statement-read-at-police-interview-at-charing-cross-police-station-30th-nov-2015/

CCA join Reclaim the Power at ‘End Coal Now’ day of action.

 

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As part of Reclaim the Powers action camp at Ffos-Y-Fran, members of Christian Climate Action have blockaded a road in the coal mine.  The day of action itself included hundreds of people occupying the site on May 3rd 2016.

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Below is the Press Release:

PRESS RELEASE

3rd May 2016

 

 

Christians on the Front Line Against UK Coal

Five members of Christian Climate Action blockaded the Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine at 6:25am this morning, helping to close off the access road to the mine. They were among 400 people from Reclaim the Power camp who shut down the largest open cast coal mine in the UK for the day and called for the end of coal mining in the UK to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The activists were dressed in red to lay down the red line that fossil fuels, especially coal, must stay in the ground. The UK government announced last year that it plans to end coal burning for electricity by 2025. Christian Climate Action says this is not only too late, but also little more than a hypocritical gesture if the UK continues to mine coal for shipping overseas.

Phil Kingston, 80, one of the five and originally from Penarth said, ‘My grandfather worked in the Welsh mines. We know now that coal is hugely damaging to God’s creation and to the future of my grandchildren and their generation. The poorest people in the world are being hit hardest by the extreme weather events that are being caused by climate change. For all these reasons I feel called to take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.’

Ruth Jarman, 52, who lay on the ground with her arm in one of the tubes, said, ‘Our government agreed last year in Paris to try to limit climate change to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To have any chance of meeting this target 85% of known fossil fuel reserves, and 90% of coal, the dirtiest of all, need to stay in the ground. By stopping mining at Ffos-y-Fran, the largest opencast coal mine in the country, we are simply helping our government to live up to its own promises.’

The ‘End Coal Now’ action is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry.

The five are: Ruth Jarman from Hampshire (52), Phil Kingston from Bristol (79), Father Martin Newell from Birmingham (48), Jo Frew and Julie Timbrell.

‘As Christians we feel we have no option but to take sides on matters that threaten the future of so much of God’s creation, including the people he loves,’ said Ruth. ‘By participating in this action to stop the mining of coal, we intend to place ourselves on the side of justice and peace.’

ENDS

Editors Notes:

  1. More information about Christian Climate Action, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website:www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. The Reclaim the Power mass action camp, End Coal Now, is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry this May.  The camp shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine – Ffos-y-fran in Wales. www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow

PRESS RELEASE: Christians take part in direct action to shut down coal mine in Wales

25th April 2016

groundswell_header-1024x381On Tuesday 3rd May, a group of Christians will take part in the mass action to close down the Ffos-y-Fran coal mine in Wales and call for the end of coal mining in the UK. The UK government announced last year that it plans to end coal burning for electricity by 2025. Christian Climate Actionsays this is not only too late, but also little more than a hypocritical gesture if the UK continues to mine coal for shipping overseas.

 

Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action, said, ‘Our government agreed last year in Paris to try to limit climate change to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To have any chance of meeting this target 85% of known fossil fuel reserves, and 90% of coal, the dirtiest of all, need to stay in the ground. By stopping mining at Ffos-y-Fran, the largest opencast coal mine in the country, we are simply helping our government to live up to its own promises.’

 

The ‘End Coal Now’ action will happen as part of the Reclaim the Power mass action camp, which will run from Saturday 30 April to Wednesday 4 May near Merthyr Tydfil, and is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry.

 

‘As Christians we feel we have no option but to take sides on matters that threaten the future of so much of God’s creation, including the people he loves,’ said Ruth. ‘By participating in this action to stop the mining of coal, we intend to place ourselves on the side of justice and peace.’

 

ENDS

 

Contact: Ruth Jarman 07970 907784 / 01252 849904

 

Editors Notes:

  1. More information about Christian Climate Action, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website: www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. The Reclaim the Power mass action camp, End Coal Now, is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry this May.  The camp hopes to shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine – Ffos-y-fran in Wales. www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow