Anglican Communion says no to new fossil fuel developments

At the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council  (ACC18) in Accra, Ghana a resolution was past in support of the fossil fuel non proliferation treaty

5(b) Moratorium on New Fossil Fuel developments

The Anglican Consultative Council:

  1. Notes that the Fossil fuel non- proliferation treaty (to stop the increase of fossil fuel projects) offers a practical way to  live out the fifth mark of mission in response to the climate crisis
  2. Supports the Treaty and request that the Secretary General sign the Treaty on behalf of ACC and
  3. Encourages Primates and Bishops to sign on behalf of the Churches and Dioceses of the Communion and advocate with their governments to halt new gas and Oil exploration.(


The Resolution was presented during a session from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network

Rev Canon Rachel Mash’s speech

We all know the Earth is warming– caused by the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. Chain reactions are now starting:

For example:

The heat is increasing, the more drought we have, the less hydropower we can  produce so we burn more coal. Kariba dam is now so dry that Zimbabwe is suffering blackouts

The hotter it is, the more air conditioning we need, so we burn more coal as occurred in the Indian heat wave.

But it’s not only our emissions heating the globe – something else is at work here. The rising temperatures are setting in motion Earth’s own natural warming mechanisms. We are entering a vicious cycle where more warming causes more warming to occur. Scientists call them feedback loops, we are nearing the point when they will become irreversible.

Of all the carbon dioxide humans emit each year, the oceans absorb around one-quarter, plants take up another quarter, and the other half stays in the atmosphere, raising Earth’s temperature.

The percentage Nature removes is shrinking every year, as forests are destroyed and oceans warm.


Trees can live up to can be 4,000 years old.

Trees pull carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere, and emitting oxygen.  They store the carbon safely away in their branches, trunks, leaves, roots, and soils. This is called  a carbon sink.

As the temperature rises, the climate becomes hotter and drier, and trees fall prey to drought, fire, and insects.  As trees burn and decay, the carbon they’ve locked away during their lifetime –is released back into the air.

This tree in Scotland is reported to be 5000 years old.

Rain forests such as the Congo and the Amazon are vitally important. The Amazon is 2 million square miles and crosses nine countries.  In the last fifty years, nearly 20% of this forest has been lost – mostly to slash and burn land clearing, triggering fires, insects and tree dieback.

In parts of the U.S. Canada  and Europe, old forests are being cut down by the wood pellet industry for burning, releasing decades of stored carbon back into the air. Even though these forests are being replanted, when it comes to offsetting global warming, old and young forests are not equal.

Today, 17% of global carbon emissions each year can be attributed to logging,  and to  burning wood pellets for bioenergy. So called  ‘green’

This is a feedback loop, more heat means more drought , means more fires, releasing more CO2


At the North and South  poles, snow and ice act like a mirror , reflecting the sun’s rays away back into space.  This is called the Albedo effect

The planet is losing its ability to reflect sunlight, triggering a dangerous feedback loop.

At the North Pole the winter is shrinking and the coverage at the end of summer is less every year

Global warming is increasing the temperature in the Arctic two to three times faster than the rest of the planet. As the  reflective ice and snow disappear, it exposes the dark ocean underneath. 

And so, you’re replacing one of the best natural reflectors, ice, which reflects 85% of heat, with dark ocean, which absorbs  90%., The volume of ice in the Arctic  has decreased by 75% in only 40 years.

In the South Pole, the increased temperature is thawing the miles-thick Antarctic ice sheets that have been accumulating on land for over 40 million years.   If we lose them we could see sea levels rise by 100 meters

The feedback loop – less ice, less reflection, temperatures rise, the ice melts

We have a choice. If we take our foot off the accelerator, reduce fossil fuels stop deforestation, and re-green the earth, we can reverse the feedback loops before they become unstoppable

Climate change is not something that is simply won or lost. It is a curve that we can keep bending towards a better world. (Tamsin Edwards)

We are beginning to bend the curve

We have to protect old forests, re-green the earth and reduce carbon emissions.

  1. Stop Deforestation

The Province of Brazil, the Province of South America are speaking out and acting

The Franciscans of the Solomon Islands made a presentation to the UN on the human rights impacts of logging

Bishop Duque of Colombia is active with the Interfaith forest Initiative

We have to learn from and stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples.  A third of the remaining old forest is on indigenous land.

We produced a series of voices – listening the indigenous prophetic voices

At Lambeth we launched the Communion Forest , to protect and to grow

We are involved in the Season of Creation

 2. Re-greening

The Church of Rwanda launched the Communion Forest.

The Church of South India’ Green Schools progamme is growing trees

The Diocese of Kansas protects and grows prairie grass. Look at the depth of the roots and the carbon they capture!

The Diocese of Imhambane in Mozambique is planting mangroves

In the Episcopal Church they are planting Good new gardens

And across Africa Dioceses are adopting “God’s way of farming” – low tillage agriculture that allows the soil to heal

 3. Reducing carbon emissions.

The Diocese of Central Zimbabwe has installed a solar farm

The Diocese of London has just now divested from fossil fuels

The Church in Wales has joined the journey to net zero by 2030

Faith leaders are protesting fossil fuel projects

The Church of Kenya has produced a low energy stove


Today we are calling on you to be prophetic

On your table is a resolution calling for a halt to new fossil fuel projects with a just transition for developing nations

we have to say no  new fossil fuel projects, they will lock us into decades of further global warming

When a fossil fuel company comes to your country ten percent of the profits might come to your country, and as much as ninety percent to the overseas shareholders

100 percent of the environmental destruction remains in your country

100 percent of the human rights abuses take place in your country

This is Environmental  racism

This is Neo- plantation economics

Let us break the chains of oppression

We call for a just transition where  developing nations are enabled to move to decentralised renewable energy.

Let us say not to fossil fuel development

Let us support it as a prophetic statement from ACC18

Deuteronomy  30:19 says

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your children may have life!

Let us speak out, let us stop new fossil fuel developments

Let us choose life


I would like to end with a quote from the wonderful Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe

“Here is where the turning point must occur. Will we allow fear to paralyze us or use it to galvanize us into action. Only one path leads to hope, the other leads us into despair. It is only our actions that offer the chance of a better future. 

The giant boulder of climate action isn’t sitting at the bottom of an impossibly steep hill with only a few hands trying to push it up, but rather it is already at the top and rolling down the hill with millions of hands pushing it in the right direction, that gives us hope. It isn’t going fast enough yet; but for each new hand that joins, it will go a little faster.: “Every action matters… Every choice matters.” Dr Katharine Hayhoe

Let us choose life .


Photo Credit ACC18