Church pressures oil companies

Oil refinery

The Church of Scotland, backed by Christian Aid and Eco Congregation Scotland, has called on three global firms to act on emissions

31st October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Christian charities have joined forces to put pressure on oil companies.

The Church of Scotland has sent an open letter to the chairmen of three oil companies, asking them to align their business plans with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Christian Aid Scotland and Eco Congregation Scotland have joined the church in calling on BP, Shell and Total to make the radical changes needed to keep global warming as far below 2 °C as possible.

Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: “Oil companies have a critical role in deciding whether or not global warming stays within targets set by the Paris agreement of 2015.

“That agreement was to limit global warming to 1.5 °C if possible and at most 2 °C.  I am now writing to ask them to tell us if they are committed to limit global warming and if so what are they going to do?”

In early October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that urgent changes are necessary to achieve climate targets and avoid the dangers of drought, extreme heat, floods and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Sally Foster Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “Right now, climate change is eroding life for the most vulnerable in our world and robbing our children of a future. Right now is the only time we have and time is running out. Christian Aid Scotland stands together with the Church of Scotland and Eco-congregations Scotland in asking oil and gas companies to be leaders and solution-makers, moving intentionally and quickly to a fossil-free future.”

Burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal causes carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, one of the principal causes of global warming. The Paris Climate Agreement urges a transition toward low carbon energy sources.

Mary Sweetland, chair of Eco-Congregation Scotland, said: “We need to drastically reduce our use of carbon fuels as the recent IPCC report shows.  Big oil companies promised to clean up their act to meet the Paris commitments; now we need to know how quickly they are changing.”

The church sent the letters to the three firms because it has investments in them and seeks their co-operation in ending the harms of climate change. 

Commissioners at the 2018 General Assembly voiced serious concerns about climate change and instructed the Church and Society Council to open discussions with the oil companies and press them to align their business plans with the Paris Climate Agreement,