by Sue Smith
“Among the resolutions was one calling on ExxonMobil to report how it would work toward a global target of keeping temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less.”
It’s that time again. A fossil fuel divestment overture is coming to the PCUSA General Assembly this summer, and MRTI is blowing smoke in our eyes with disinformation. The resolution is not about working toward a target, it is about an annual assessment of the long-term impacts of global climate change policies to ExxonMobil’s own business.
ExxonMobil’s assessment? Current reserves will be required to meet energy requirements and production will remain economically viable. The solution to reducing greenhouse gases will be met by expanding the supply of natural gas.
Continued production of oil will do nothing to lessen the impact of climate change; fracking for natural gas will continue to pollute the land and the water. Who gets impacted? Primarily communities of color, indigenous communities, and poor white communities.
Why should the church care? “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40). The Gospel of Jesus Christ says when we harm communities of color, indigenous communities, and poor white communities, we harm Jesus.
The letter from Exxon’s Chairman ends, “We will continue to build long-term value for our shareholders and stakeholders.” MRTI represents the church as shareholder. ExxonMobil is looking after its shareholders by harming those the church is called to care for. We have to ask ourselves, on this issue, do we want to be the church of the shareholder, or the church that stands with and walks alongside the least of these?
Let’s not let smoke get in our eyes.