Church of England to sell off oilsands, coal interests over climate change

The Church of England said on Thursday it has decided to blacklist coal and oilsands investments over climate change concerns, the Financial Times reported.

Church will sell off $22M in investments from huge portfolio

An oilsands facility is seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta. The Church of England plans to sell off its oilsands holdings. (Jeff MacIntosh/Canadian Press)

The Church of England said on Thursday it has decided to blacklist coal and oilsands investments over climate change concerns, the Financial Times reported.

The Church said it would sell £12 million ($22 million) of its holdings in thermal coal and oilsands companies.

"Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our day, for people of all faiths and people of no faith," said the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nick Holtam, lead bishop on the environment.

The Church, which has an investment portfolio worth more than 9 billion sterling ($16 billion), will no longer put its money into any company that gets more than 10 per cent of its revenues from extracting coal burned for energy or oilsands, FT reported.

Heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, California's Stanford University and the World Council of Churches have already said they will reduce or cut fossil fuel investments, under pressure from a grassroots campaign that urges divestment of energy sources that lead to climate change.

The move comes ahead of the Paris summit on climate change, where the church is among those pushing for a deal to reduce carbon emissions.

"We need governments meeting in Paris at the end of this year to agree long-term global emissions targets with a clear pathway to a low-carbon future," said Pierre Jameson, chief investment officer of the Church of England Pensions Board.

With files from CBC News

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