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Methodists engage with Climate Change ahead of COP26


In the run-up to the City of Glasgow hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (commonly abbreviated as COP26), British Methodists – among others – have been actively raising their campaigning profile to help accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.

On Tuesday 16th February, a Methodist webinar was held entitled 'The climate emergency, COP26 and fossil fuel divestment'. The Webinar, in which there was some local participation, was held to enable Methodists to hear more about current activity and brought together representatives from several organisations. These included Operation Noah, a Christian campaign group, which aims to raise awareness of the climate crisis and equips Christians to take a stand on this vital issue. Also involved were Christian Aid and so too was the Methodist Church's own Zero Carbon Group.

Fossil fuel divestment is about establishing ethical policies that avoid investing money in financial markets related to industries such as oil, and gas. Methodist Church has been particularly active on this front over the last few years.

In October 2020, the Methodist Council passed a resolution on divestment which will result in the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church ceasing to invest in all oil and gas companies which are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees'. Several Methodist churches have already announced their decision to divest from fossil fuels and more will no doubt follow.

A key message from the webinar was that big business is becoming more susceptible to change because of pressure applied by churches, other faith groups, as well as the wider environmental lobby and, of course, ordinary investors.

Meanwhile, a local ecumenical initiative to educate, inform and encourage people in churches to think more deeply about climate change and other environmental matters gets under way during Lent with a five-week online study course entitled 'Caring for Creation'. Details may be found on the 'Lent & Easter' page.

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