Today Christians stood up at the end of a service at Lichfield Cathedral holding a sign asking the Church of England to remove it’s investments in fossil fuel companies. This follows a similar prayerful protest which took place at Derby Cathedral on 4th December.

The Christians held up a banner reading “C of E: DIVEST NOW FROM FOSSIL FUELS”.

Mary Smail, one of the Christians who held the sign, said: “The climate crisis is the most urgent challenge of our time and scientists say it is getting worse even faster than expected. Without a habitable planet we will lose everything we hold dear and unimaginable horrors await us. Everything else pales into insignificance.

We know full well that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. We find it unacceptable that the Church of England is making money from holding investments in fossil fuel companies.

Our politicians are backsliding on their climate change commitments by issuing more licences for oil and gas in the North Sea and even giving the go ahead for a new coal mine. It’s time for the Church to step up and demonstrate moral leadership: we are calling on all parts of the Church of England, both locally and nationally, to immediately divest from fossil fuels.

If the nature of our protest has upset anyone we apologise for that but would ask people to consider the amount of upset that will be caused by climate collapse. We are already seeing floods and droughts leading to the mass displacement of populations. Things are going to get much, much worse if we stick our heads in the sand and carry on business as usual.”

According to research by the charity Operation Noah whilst many dioceses have already divested from fossil fuels, Lichfield is one of about a third that have not. At a national level both the Church Commissioners and the Pension Board are still investing in fossil fuel companies. Although some progress has been made in redirecting investments towards renewables, the speed of transition needs to accelerate rapidly in order to keep global temperature rises in line with the Paris Agreement. Over the last ten years most other major Christian denominations have made a commitment to divest from fossil fuels including the Quakers, Church of Ireland, United Reformed Churches, Methodist Church and Church of Scotland.

To find out more about the climate crisis and what you can do about it we invite people to search online for Extinction Rebellion, Christian Climate Action and Operation Noah.

“We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing…We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” – Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General speaking at COP27.