Fossil Free UMC commends the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ decision to screen coal from its investments. “Creating a coal investment screen is more than an act of fiduciary duty. It’s a bold expression of The United Methodist Church’s values,” says Rev. Jenny Phillips, coordinator of Fossil Free UMC. “As a denomination, we can’t continue to say we’re against climate change while saying we’re for fossil fuel profits.”
“The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits is taking the first step in acknowledging that investing in fossil fuels undermines The United Methodist Church’s ministries with the most vulnerable among us,” says Rev. Phillips. “Our denomination is on the front lines of climate change mitigation and recovery efforts worldwide. It doesn’t make sense for our pensions and ministries to depend on the flourishing of the companies that are wreaking this havoc.”
Fossil Free UMC is a movement of United Methodists who want to add coal, petroleum and natural gas to the list of United Methodist socially responsible investment screens in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. In 2014, Fossil Free UMC supported successful legislation calling for the study of fossil fuel divestment in the Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, Pacific Northwest, and Virginia annual conferences. Now Fossil Free UMC is working with and seeking leaders in other annual conferences and central conferences to ask their 2015 conferences to endorse legislation for General Conference 2016 adding coal, petroleum and natural gas to the denomination’s investment screens.