Christian Aid has welcomed the Church of England's commitment yesterday to sell its holdings in polluting fossil fuel companies by 2023.
Following an amendment to a motion affirming the work of the Church's National Investing Bodies – the Church of England Pensions Board, the Church Commissioners and CBF Church of England Funds – by Canon Giles Goddard, the Church agreed to assess companies' progress by 2023 and disinvest from any companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
A spokesperson for the CofE said: 'Synod's vote makes clear that the Church must play a leading role and exercise its moral leadership on the urgent issue of climate change.
'Today's decision, including the amendment by Giles Goddard, will allow us to continue to push for real change in the oil and gas sector and use engagement, our voting rights and rights to file shareholder resolutions to drive the change we want to see.'
Christian Aid's head of UK advocacy, Tom Viita, said the vote 'shows the bell is tolling for the fossil fuel era. As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said last week, climate change is the great existential threat of our times, and today the Church has backed up his words with a clear decision to pull its investments from fossil fuel companies that don't quickly align themselves with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.'
He said the Church of England expects companies to 'honour international goals by fundamentally changing their business models, or face the consequences'.