In October 2014 Scarboro Missions decided to divest over a period of five years from stocks and bonds in fossil fuels and related infrastructure. We recently completed this divestment. In April 2017 we sent the letter below to the relevant officers and directors of the various companies divested. Fossil fuel divestment has become a fast growing global movement in response to climate change. In December 2016 the Guardian reported fossil fuel assets committed to divestment doubled in a little over a year to $5.2 trillion. Information on Catholic and other faith organizations who are divesting from fossil fuel companies and reinvesting can be found at these two websites:
Dear Fossil Fuel Company:
Scarboro Missions is a Canadian society of Catholic priest and lay missioners dedicated to global mission. As former shareholders in Fossil Fuel Company, we are writing to inform you of our decision to divest from stocks and bonds in fossil fuels and related infrastructure.
After some discussion and reflection, Scarboro Missions decided in October 2014 to divest over a period of five years. We recently completed this divestment. Reports then and now, including from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate that most fossil fuel reserves cannot be used if we hope to avoid dangerous climate change. Global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels is no longer considered safe. Least developed and low-lying countries already facing severe climate change impacts call for global warming to be kept below 1.5°C, meaning even fewer fossil fuel reserves could be used. These countries include Malawi, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, and other countries where Scarboro missioners serve or have served.
At the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference countries agreed to hold global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts for the 1.5°C limit. The World Meteorological Organization confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on record and that the global average temperature was already about 1.1°C higher than the pre-industrial period. We are at a crossroads. Rapid transformation to a low carbon economy is the safest way to limit global warming. Business as usual or weak responses risk devastating climate change impacts for all of us but particularly for those least responsible—future generations, our brothers and sisters in the Global South, as well as the community of life on Earth.
We realize that fossil fuels provide many benefits in society including warm homes, jobs that help take care of families, and many products we use daily. While we still use fossil fuels, we recognize the urgent need to transition away from them. Therefore, we no longer wish to invest in building further fossil fuel infrastructure and are investigating how to reinvest funds in ways that would better care for creation and future generations. Scarboro Missions has also taken steps to reduce fossil fuel use, such as an energy audit and various building retrofits including insulation, windows, boilers, and a solar assisted water heater.
Various actions would help us all to move away from our dependency on fossil fuels including:
- Significant investment in renewable energy, building retrofits and public transit,
- Just transition for energy workers, including support and training,
- GHG emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector,
- An end to fossil fuel subsidies,
- Planned increases in the price on carbon, with rebates for low-income earners, until it helps achieve our fair share of emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement.
We hope you will support these actions and seek additional ways to be part of the necessary transformation. We would be grateful to learn of your efforts. Everyone is needed and invited to participate. We are all in this together as one human family sharing one common home with the whole community of life.
Rev. Brian Swords, sfm
Rev. Ron MacDonell, sfm
Rev. John Carten, sfm