(Reuters) – Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders on Monday joined UN officials in urging financial institutions to stop bankrolling activities driving climate change, including ending support for new fossil fuel projects.
Leaders of the World Council of Churches, the Muslim Council of Elders and the Board of Rabbis in New York signed a statement saying that banks, pension funds and insurance companies had a “moral imperative” not to contribute to climate change because of the threat it poses to future generations of life. on earth.
“For a long time, the financial services sector has made the world dependent on fossil fuels,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in support of the statement.
“The scientific and moral imperative is clear: no new investment must be made in fossil fuel expansion, including production, infrastructure and exploration.”;
The religious groups said they would ask their own financial service providers to stop investing in fossil fuels and instead invest in renewable energy.
Combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil is the largest source of global warming gases. The UN’s top panel on climate science said in a report last month that reducing these emissions immediately and drastically will be the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Environmental advocates in recent years have gone further than calling out oil companies and other companies that directly pollute the climate to also put pressure on their investors and financial institutions that finance them.
Although these efforts have helped drive shareholders to act on certain oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., shareholder proposals for banks to intensify climate work have been put to the vote this year and received some support.