Church of Ireland votes to divest from fossil fuel companies by 2022

The Church of Ireland has voted to divest from companies involved in production of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. | Wikimedia Commons/TripodStories- AB

The Church of Ireland has voted to stop investing in companies involved in fossil fuel production by 2022 as part of its efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

According to Irish Times, the Church will be divesting from companies with more than 10 percent turnover from fossil fuel production by 2022.

"Ethical investors around the world, and now the Church of Ireland, have looked at the ethics and the risks and concluded that divestment from all fossil fuels is the right thing to do," said Synod member Stephen Trew, as reported by Irish Times.

The church had significantly reduced its investment in fossil fuels over the years. In 2011, 10 percent of the church's investment was allocated to fossil fuels, but it had dropped to 2.5 percent this year.

Trew noted that universities across Ireland and Northern Ireland have also divested from fossil fuel companies in the past 18 months.

He noted that many Anglican churches have already opted to end their investment in coal and tar-sands, but he contended that the Church of Ireland was one of the churches to divest from all fossil fuel companies.

"Let us mark the day when, with God's help, we decided that the Church of Ireland is truly an ethical investor and excludes all fossil fuels," Trew said, as reported by Irish Times.

In 2015, the Church of England announced that it will stop making direct investments to companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenues from thermal coal or tar sands as part of its climate change policy.

The Anglican Church also announced late last year that it may divest from mining companies that fail to "uphold high standards."

The Catholic Church has also been divesting investment funds from the fossil fuel industry. On April 22, the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) announced that Caritas Internationalis, the Church's network of charities, will be divesting part of its investment from fossil fuel companies. According to Catholic News Service, 30 other Catholic institutions and three German banks will be doing the same.

GCCM Executive Director Tomas Insua said that the move was part of the efforts to reduce carbon emissions to levels indicated in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

"This announcement is the result of many months of hard work. Our team has been working pretty hard raising awareness. I think there is so little understanding about the fossil fuel industry being at the core of the environmental crisis," Insua said, according to Catholic News Service.