,by Laurie Fisher
This blog post is in response to author Steven Webb of ACSWP, along with MRTI staff, in Unbound, May 29, 2018.
I do appreciate MRTI’s efforts in corporate engagement on a variety of issues. We are a church, a community of faith which believes our investments should reflect our values.
Missing in this article, however, was any sense of remorse that as a community of faith we are profiting from fossil fuels that are harming the earth; missing any sense of remorse that right now the poor, the marginalized, millions around the world are suffering tremendously from the reality of climate change.
MRTI joined Climate Action 100+ to engage as shareholders. But companies such as ExxonMobil really are not interested in changing their business plans. In its 10-K report to the SEC released earlier this year, EM continues to project increase in demand for its products. ExxonMobil is not alone, either, in paying to fund disinformation campaigns, and contributing to lawmakers who will do their bidding. Though they say they support the Paris Accords, the company is still lobbying for policies that would lead to a 3 to 4 degree Celsius warming.
Also concerning in MRTI’s approach is the talk of “5 years”. We don’t have 5 years. It is true that it takes time to “turn this big ship around”. That is why action is required now. The PCUSA can divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy, and MRTI can keep shares worth $200K with each company and continue to urge ExxonMobil and others to change their business plans. Contrary to what MRTI states, now is the time to divest. The fossil fuel industry is facing increasing threats from potentially costly litigation from climate change impacts and international policies that could limit carbon emissions.
Most importantly, by divesting, we as the PCUSA will take the moral stand that we no longer will profit from the destruction of lives and of creation. We are a community of faith, first and foremost.
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