Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Featured

Faith Community Calls on US Banks to Cease Fossil Fuel Financing

Faith Community Calls on US Banks to Cease Fossil Fuel Financing

New York, NY In the face of mounting environmental catastrophes across the globe, some 98 religious and ethical organizations and individuals have called on five US banks to cease financing fossil fuel projects due to their destructive impact on life-giving climate systems.

The interfaith group has directed their urging to Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, TD Bank and Wells Fargo stating that to “endeavor to proceed full-speed ahead with the very practices causing this destruction is as irrational as it is patently immoral.”

This message bears particular importance in light of the international gathering of financial institutions, the Equator Principles Association, in São Paulo, Brazil on October 24, 2017 where climate policies will be under review. The urgent need to safeguard the planet and all its life forms demands a rapid transition to renewable energy sources, as the only rational response to the massive devastation constantly before our eyes. It would behoove the financial sector to protect their own interests from soaring costs and stranded assets by accompanying this change. Most importantly, it would place a human face on a sector whose policies stand in contradiction to the basic tenets of all religious and ethical bodies the world over. To fail to do so would condemn future generations to an unlivable world. Given the short window remaining to stave off irreversible climate chaos, as members of the human race, we must act swiftly and decisively.

Contact: Victoria Furio, Convener, Climate Justice

Climate.justice2013@gmail.com  646-648-2720

Faith Community Calls on US Banks to Cease Fossil Fuel Financing

October 22, 2017

It is now abundantly clear that planetary warming is and will continue producing apocalyptic hurricanes, uncontrollable wildfires, life-denying droughts, unbearable heat, epic floods, and now, inevitable sea level rise ─ just as scientists have been predicting for decades. There can no longer be any doubt, except among those who choose to deny the facts. The anguish and devastation of recent extreme weather events at home and across the globe shock the imagination.

To ignore reality and endeavor to proceed full-speed ahead with the very practices causing this destruction is as irrational as it is patently immoral. It would signify a deliberate attempt against life systems that currently hang by a thread ─ inconceivable for any logical being.

And yet we see great political and economic powers determined to do precisely that, blinded by the lust for profit at any cost. Short-term gain that results in irreparable suffering and misery cannot be countenanced on a human level nor in our shared convictions as persons of faith.

As leaders of major financial institutions you play a pivotal role in determining the fate of this earth. You can choose to continue to provide funding and incentives for activities that imperil life, or you could place the resources you control at the service of a livable future.

Investing in fossil fuels is not only an injustice against all of Creation but is economic folly. They represent a dying industry and one whose costs cannot be sustained. Indeed, the human tide rising against them is shifting the focus to life-giving energy sources, to the rational choice of renewables, which assures business sense and a more just world.

Signatories of the June 2013 Equator Principles, now numbering 91 financial institutions spanning 37 countries, agreed that project finance would:

“…ensure that the Projects we finance and advise on are developed in a manner that is socially responsible and reflects sound environmental management practices. We recognise the importance of climate change, biodiversity, and human rights, and believe negative impacts on project-affected ecosystems, communities, and the climate should be avoided where possible…

We believe that adoption of and adherence to the Equator Principles offers significant benefits to us, our clients, and local stakeholders through our clients’ engagement with locally Affected Communities. We therefore recognise that our role as financiers affords us opportunities to promote responsible environmental stewardship and socially responsible development, including fulfilling our responsibility to respect human rights by undertaking due diligence in accordance with the Equator Principles.”

(The Equator Principles, June 2013, Preamble, p. 2;
http://www.equator-principles.com/resources/equator_principles_III.pdf)

As Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) and U.S. banks, it is incumbent upon you to uphold these principles. We therefore are compelled to call upon you to
redirect your efforts away from deadly fossil fuels and instead invest in life-promoting renewable energy. Banks were created to serve the public interest, and it is the community’s funds that constitute your reserves. They must be invested wisely and to benefit the common good. An increasing number of persons and institutions are divesting from organizations that support fossil fuels. Some 798 institutions and 58,000 individuals worldwide ─from faith-based to educational to local governments─ have divested their assets; this month alone an additional 40 Catholic institutions did likewise. To date, over $5.53 trillion dollars have been moved out of the sector. And municipalities across the country are now being asked to join the three U.S. cities which have already withdrawn their funds from banks that finance fossil fuels.

The accelerating climate crisis presents a moral imperative for urgent action to preserve a climate-stable world. It is ultimately in all of our best interests. We are heartened by BNP Paribas’ recent decision to halt funding for shale or oil sands projects as well as their transport, i.e. pipelines. As you enter the 2017 Equator Principles gathering, you have a choice before you. We urge you to choose life.

Sincerely,

Advocates for Justice
New York, NY

Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach
Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Facilitator, One Earth Collaborative
Rabbi, Ma’yan Tikvah- A Wellspring of Hope

Dr. Michelle Alexander
Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

American Ethical Union
A Federation of Ethical Societies

Nkosi Anderson, M. Div.
New York, NY

Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference
United Church of Christ

Dr. Sarah Azaransky
Assistant Professor of Social Ethics
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Beloved Earth
Riverside Church NYC

Rev. Trevor R. Babb
Rector, Christ Church New Brighton
Staten Island, NY

Randall Best
Humanist Minister
Northern Virginia Ethical Society

Katherine C. Bini
New York, NY

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Chair, Buddhist Global Relief

Rev. Jacob Bolton
Associate Pastor, Huguenot Memorial Church
Pelham, NY

Rev. Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes
Associate Professor of Worship
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Catholic Network.US

Dr. Hyun Kyung Chung
Associate Professor of Ecumenical Studies
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Colorado Interfaith Power and Light

Colorado Youth Climate Council

Rev. Dr. James H. Cone
Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
US Province Leaders

Sr. Michaela Connolly, OP
Prioress, Sisters of St. Dominic
Blauvelt, NY

Margaret Susan Dabney

Rev. Frederick A. Davie, M. Div.
New York, NY
Sister Carol De Angelo, SC
Sisters of Charity of New York
Office of Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation

Kathy Dean
Coordinator, Hudson River Presbyterian Green

Rev. Dr. Susan G. De George
Stated Clerk, Hudson River Presbytery, NY

Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

Dr. Amandus J. Derr
Senior Pastor, Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church
New York, NY

Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien
Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Rev. Dr. Terence Ellen
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate

Environmental Justice & Climate Action
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Rabbi Michael Feinberg
New York, NY

Franciscan Action Network

Franciscan Response to Fracking

Victoria J. Furio
Convener, Climate Justice
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Rev. Jeffrey A. Geary
Pastor, White Plains Presbyterian Church (NY)

Robert M. Gordon
Vice President, Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County
Karenna Gore
Center for Earth Ethics

Rev. Melissa Coe Grewenow
Wedding and Funeral Officiant; Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant
Lake Oswego, Oregon

Karen Hartman, SFP
US Area Coordinator, Justice, Peace & the Integrity of Creation
Franciscan Sisters of the Poor

Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins
Director, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness
Washington, DC

Rev. Sarah E. Henkel
White Plains Presbyterian Church (NY)

Sr. Beryl Herdt, O.P., Ph.D.
Dominican Sisters, Blauvelt, NY

Beatrice Hernandez, OSF, MD
Coordinator, Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation
Wheaton Franciscans, Wheaton, IL

Dr. Jeremy Foreman Hultin
Visiting Associate Professor of Biblical Languages
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Interfaith Moral Action on Climate

Jewish Climate Action Network- Boston

Jewish Climate Action Network- NYC

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

Rev. Nancy Kasper
Earth Eden Sanctuary
North Rose, NY

Dr. Anne Klaeysen
Leader, NY Society for Ethical Culture
Humanist Chaplain, New York University

Cecelia Lavan, OP
Social Justice Coordinator
Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY

Jeff Levy-Lyons
Steering Committee
Jewish Climate Action Network – NYC

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Director, Social Justice Organizing Program
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Wyncote, PA

Nancy Lorence
Coordinating Team
Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement

Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado
Professor of American Religious History
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

John Major
New York, NY

John Mateyko, RA
President
Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

Anita Mentzer
Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN)

Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement

Jason L. Miller
Franciscan Action Network

Kelly Moltzen, OFS
Board Member
Franciscan Action Network

Phoebe Morad
Executive Director
Lutherans Restoring Creation

Rev. Timothy Mulroy, SSC
U.S. Regional Director
Missionary Society of St. Columban

Ellen Nash
Associate of Sisters of St. Dominic
Blauvelt, NY

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Rev. Jessica Brendler Naulty
Senior Pastor
United Methodist Church of Red Bank, NJ

Pax Christi USA

Rabbi Janise Poticha
Temple Sinai
Massapequa, NY

Pastor Cheryl Pyrch
Summit Presbyterian Church
Philadelphia, PA
Chair, Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

Rev. DeForest L. Raphael
Pastor, AME Zion Church on the Hill
New York, NY

Dr. Larry Rasmussen
Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus
Union Theological Seminary, NY

Rev. Donna Schaper
Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church
New York, NY

Cantor Eric Schulmiller
Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore
Plandome, NY

Jacquelyn Schramm
Coordinator, Franciscan Response to Fracking;
Advocates for Justice

Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, NY

B. David Smith
Elon University

Rev. Ondrej (Andrew) Stehlik, Th.D.
Rutgers Presbyterian Church

Rev. Sandra L. Strauss
Director of Advocacy & Ecumenical Outreach
Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Hugh Taft-Morales
Clergy Leader
Philadelphia & Baltimore Ethical Societies

Stanley T. Talbert. M. Div.
New York, NY

Dr. John J. Thatamanil
Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Dr. Lisa L. Thompson
Assistant Professor of Homiletics
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY

Sarah Tielemans
New York, NY

Marie Venner
Lakewood, CO

Bart Warden
Clergy Leader
Ethical Culture Society of Westchester (NY)

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Director, The Shalom Center
Philadelphia, PA

Philip J. Welch, Jr.
Lay Servant, United Methodist Church
Middletown, NJ

Dr. Cornel West
Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy
Harvard Divinity School

James G. White
Ethical Culture Leader
Riverdale-Yonkers, NY

Scott Wright
Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Washington, DC

Bro. Anthony Zuba, OFM Cap.
Parochial Staff, Church of the Good Shepherd
New York, NY