Fossil Fuel Divestment Overture Project
The OPC Earth Care Team has joined the Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church Earth Care Team as advocates for Blackhawk Presbytery’s concurrence with the Fossil Free PCUSA Overture to General Assembly 2016. This overture calls for divestment (selling of stock shares) of the top 200 global fossil fuel companies by the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions.
In the February 2016 presbytery meeting, we did a Learning Opportunity presentation on the Fossil Free PCUSA Overture in which our key points were:
1. climate change is real and the key cause is the burning of fossil fuels
2. climate change is a moral issue as it portends great human suffering (the poor and future generations are most vulnerable), and
3. as Christians, we are called to stop the denying/delaying, stop profiting from fossil fuels, stop causing the suffering and be advocates for urgent movement to renewable energy.
In the April 2016 presbytery meeting, Blackhawk Presbytery voted to join 30 other presbyteries across the U.S. as concurring on this overture to General Assembly 2016 in Portland, Oregon. It asks that the Foundation and Board of Pensions stop buying directly held fossil fuel stocks, while selling what they currently have within 3 years. It directs the denomination to invest in renewables, helping to create the solution. It allows for retaining the minimum shares to "keep seat at the table” and continue to participate in shareholder action. It also encourages the continuation of advocacy and programs to educate all levels of the church about these issues.
We believe that divestment is an essential tool that institutional and personal investors can use to influence the course of climate change. We pray that Presbyterians will join the faithful chorus of the UCC, Unitarians, Methodists, and Episcopalians in denominational divestment.