JRI has long been interested in climate change. It is now clear that we need to leave most of the remaining reserves of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global warming (many scientists say a maximum of two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial temperature). To do that we need to move away from burning fossil fuels and rapidly move on to renewable sources. The snag is that the fossil fuel companies show little sign of making this move. Many institutions, including churches, hold large investments in fossil fuels. Should we continue to hold these investments when climate change is so damaging to our biodiversity and to human wellbeing? In the last few years there has been increasing interest in the idea that we should encourage divestment (or disinvestment) from fossil fuels. The Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) is due to report to the Church of England on this issue sometime this year. February 13/14 has been designated as Global Divestment Day.
Operation Noah have been very much leading the campaign for divestment in the churches on the UK. They asked JRI personnel, Martin and Margot Hodson, to contribute to a group of reflections on divestment that they have gathered from Christian theologians, scientists and environmentalists. The other contributors are: Nicky Bull, Revd Dr Susan Durber, Revd Fletcher Harper, Dr John M. Hull, Andy Lester, Bill McKibben, Revd Prof. Michael Northcott, Thea Ormerod, Ellen Teague, and Revd Dr Simon Topping. There are three resources that have arisen from this work:
1) Is it ethical to invest in fossil fuels? How can environmental ethics inform our decision making? by Martin J Hodson and Margot R Hodson on the JRI Blog.
2) A fairly short press release sized document summarising all the contributions: HERE
3) The full document with all of the contributions: Is it ethical for the Church to invest in fossil fuels? Reflections from Christian theologians, scientists and environmentalists.
Bishop David Atkinson has been at the forefront of theological thinking about climate change. He has recently produced a major paper, “Climate Change and the Gospel”, for Operation Noah and he has asked if we could reproduce it. The paper can be downloaded HERE or from http://operationnoah.org/resources/climate-change-gospel/
All places available at the annual JRI conference to be held on Saturday 7th March have been filled. Thank you to those who have booked early. A ‘reserve list’ will be operating so please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your name to be added to this. The main talks will be videoed and posted to the web, and follow-up posts and articles from the day are planned so do check back to the website and follow us on social media to keep in touch.
The JRI annual conference in association with A Rocha and Redcliffe College is to be held on Saturday 7th March at Wotton House, Gloucester and, as expected, its theme – Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change – is generating a lot of interest. The ‘Early Bird Discount’ price of £38 per delegate is only available for bookings made before 31st January. So to be sure of your place, and to take advantage of the lower price, please BOOK SOON. Further details and the booking form download are available from the conference page on this website or if you want to go straight to the booking form download click here.
The John Ray Initiative is pleased to announce the publication of Briefing Paper No. 30 by the Chair of JRI, Dr John Weaver. “Is Fracking Good For Us? – Energy Security, Energy Prices and the Environment” presents the current estimations for the potential of shale gas provision in the UK, and also the environmental concerns raised by the process for its extraction. The possible contribution that fracking for shale gas may present to meet the UK’s future energy needs is set beside the commitment to achieve lower carbon-based fuel supplies and increased renewable energy targets. Energy security needs world-wide are explored alongside the greater threat of irreversible climate-change. A Biblical perspective contributes to the debate on the question “What then is the Christian response to fracking?” and provides a challenge to Christian discipleship. This is an 8 page document in pdf format which can be downloaded here (right-click to select option to open in new window)
A Rocha have now posted all the talks and the associated resources from the ‘Hope for Planet Earth – A Christian response to climate change’ tours in 2008 an 2009 on their web site: http://atyourservice.arocha.org/en/hope-for-planet-earth-a-christian-response-to-climate-change/ and JRI also have a page on this site giving some additional details, including how to obtain a hard-copy DVD of the presentations which may be of use when sharing the material in group settings.