threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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EU’s clean energy plan could put forests at risk

A letter in last December 14th’s Guardian, and signed by numerous leading scientists, drew attention to the fact that the clean energy plan allows fuel from felled trees to qualify as renewable energy, when in fact this would accelerate climate change and devastate forests.

The European Union is moving to enact a directive to double Europe’s current renewable energy by 2030. This is admirable, but a critical flaw in the present version of the plan would accelerate climate change, allowing countries, power plants and factories to claim that cutting down trees and burning them for energy fully qualifies as renewable energy.

Even a small part of Europe’s energy requires a large quantity of trees and to avoid profound harm to the climate and forests worldwide the European council and parliament must fix this flaw.

bluebells

European producers of wood products have for decades generated electricity and heat as beneficial by-products, using wood wastes and limited forest residues. Most of this material would decompose and release carbon dioxide in a few years anyway, so using them to displace fossil fuels can reduce the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere in a few years too.

Unfortunately, the directive moving through parliament would go beyond wastes and residues and credit countries and companies for cutting down additional trees simply to burn them for energy. To do so has fundamentally different consequences because the carbon released into the air would otherwise stay locked up in forests.

The reasoning seems to be that so long as forests re-grow, they will eventually reabsorb the carbon released. Yet even then, the net effect – as many studies have shown – will typically be to increase global warming for decades to centuries, even when wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas.

The full letter can be found at:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/14/eu-must-not-burn-the-worlds-forests-for-renewable-energy

There is also a petition to the EU which cn be signed by concerned people:

https://goo.gl/forms/TWrHVs0eSQi7w5Vx2


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Anglican Clergy, including 5 bishops, call on the church to divest from Exxon Mobil

An open letter was published in The Guardian on 7th November 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/07/church-of-england-should-lead-on-climate-change-by-divesting-from-exxonmobil

Damian Carrington also published an article in the same issue to draw attention to the issue:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/07/bishops-urge-church-of-england-to-divest-from-exxonmobil-over-climate-change

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also sent a personal message to Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, who is overseeing the COP23 talks. Welby said the 85 million people in the worldwide Anglican communion that he leads “support your work to ensure that issues of climate change are recognised as an urgent priority requiring immediate attention”.

However, the Church of England argues it should remain an ExxonMobil shareholder so it can continue to engage with the company and influence it to change.

Image result for exxonmobil logo

Much of the letter to The Guardian is copied below:

As Church of England clergy, we have a strong interest in the ethics of investments made by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board on our behalf.

This week, governments from around the world will meet in Bonn for the next round of UN climate talks. The Paris climate change agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015, included a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.

A lot has happened since then. We have witnessed the shameful decision of the president of the United States to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Average global temperatures have risen to more than 1C above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, have had devastating impacts, leading to loss of life and severe destruction in the US and the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia and as close to home as Ireland.

While many of us believe that the church should divest from all fossil fuel companies for ethical reasons, we are especially concerned about its continued investment in the US oil and gas company ExxonMobil.

A recent Harvard academic study shows that Exxon knew about the risks of climate change in the 1970s, yet misled the public for decades. It says that the company sought to cast doubt on the climate science, taking out paid editorials in major US newspapers questioning whether global warming was real and caused by humans. Exxon’s board of directors has advised shareholders to vote against all resolutions on climate change since 1990.

Time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. While some governments and companies pursue policies that are leading us in the wrong direction, the Church of England is uniquely placed to show moral leadership through its investment policies.

Now is the time for decisive action. We call on Church of England investors to take the lead and immediately divest from ExxonMobil.

Bishop David Atkinson 
Bishop Michael Doe 
Bishop Maurice Sinclair
Bishop Graham Cray
Bishop James Jones

Richard Coles Peterborough 
Olivia Graham Oxford
Sam Wells London
Tom Ambrose Ely
Christine Bainbridge Oxford
Richard Bainbridge Oxford
Michael Bayley Sheffield
Chris Brice London
Elizabeth Bussman Europe
Francis Buxton Wales
Ben Chase Winchester
Alan Crawley Guildford
Lesley Crawley Guildford
Barbara Doubtfire Oxford
Christopher Evans Oxford
John Flitcroft Birmingham
David Garner Birmingham
Giles Goddard Southwark
Chris Halliwell Blackburn
Keith Hebden Leicester
Margot Hodson Oxford
John Hughes Manchester
Francis Jakeman Oxford
Ian James Carlisle
Christine Latham Southwark
Andrew Lenox-Conyngham Birmingham
Jonathan Nicholas Birmingham
John Nightingale Birmingham
Bertrand Olivier London
Mike Perry Salisbury
Debby Plummer Leeds
Alan Race Southwark
Liz Radcliffe Oxford
Gordon Randall Winchester
Alex Randle-Bissell Winchester
Matthew Rhodes Birmingham
Ed Saville Blackburn
Rosemary Shaw Southwark
Tim Stead Oxford
Anne Stevens London
Val Thorne Gloucester
Julian Williams Winchester
Sonya Wratten St Albans
Andrew Yates Truro”