By Leslie Scanlon, The Presbyterian Outlook.
The Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI ) committee is recommending that the 2016 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) call on companies to conduct their business in a way consistent with international efforts to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
But MRTI, which oversees the denomination’s socially responsible investment efforts, is not recommending that the PCUSA divest yet its holdings from fossil fuel companies – the 200 publicly traded oil and gas companies from the Carbon Underground list. That position is sure to disappoint advocates of fossil fuel divestment, yet please those who think divestment is the wrong way to go. Already, overtures are heading towards the 2016 General Assembly in Portland advocating both for and against divestment, a clear indication that Presbyterians don’t agree on what’s the most effective way for people of faith to respond to the dangers of global warming.
With some contending that climate change is both an environmental and a moral issue, this assembly will be asked to consider what role Presbyterians should play individually in trying to limit global warming – and what the denomination’s corporate witness should be.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board will consider the MRTI recommendation when it meets in Louisville Feb. 3-5. What’s being recommended in the MRTI report could change if the board doesn’t agree with it.