AP

Presbyterians agree to divest from fossil fuel companies

Jul 8, 2022, 12:54 PM | Updated: 1:07 pm

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has opted to pull investments from five energy corporations, joining other faith-based groups in targeting fossil-fuel companies over what they say are failures to address climate change.

The denomination’s General Assembly, meeting online, voted overwhelmingly this week for a resolution targeting Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy for divestment.

Presbyterian officials have in recent years sought to persuade several fossil fuel companies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases. The resolution said these efforts “did not produce enough substantial change or movement” by the five corporations now targeted for divestment.

The church’s investments are a small fraction of a percent of the five corporations’ market capitalization. But supporters of divestment said it would send a message and help spur corporations to change policies in response to climate change.

Numerous, mostly progressive faith-based groups in various countries — including religious orders, dioceses and denominations such as the Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association — have decided on partial or full divestment from fossil-fuel companies, according to Global Fossil Fuels Divestment Commitments Database, a website maintained by climate advocacy groups.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, though it has struggled with decades of membership losses. It reported a 2021 membership of 1.2 million.

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Presbyterians agree to divest from fossil fuel companies