The Church of England says it is sensitive to the effects its bid to force Australia's largest miner, Glencore, to extract less coal will have on the nation's economy, but climate change is a global issue that must be urgently addressed. Source: SMH.
The Church's investment fund took the lead as part of the powerful Climate Action 100+ group of wealthy global investors in pushing Glencore to cap its coal production at current levels. It has invested in Glencore since 2011 and currently holds a £10 million ($18.4 million) stake in the company. The fund fronted the drive for change at Glencore because it had been working with the company since 2013 on the issue as part of a separate European initiative.
Glencore's decision last week to limit global production to about 145 million tonnes a year after "discussions with investors on climate change" has been hailed by activists but criticised in other quarters. One Coalition minister accused "latte sipping Greens" of forcing the miner's hand, while Resources Minister Matt Canavan described it as "basic self-interest" and rival miners suggested it was a "brilliant public relations exercise" driven by economics rather than concern for the environment.
Edward Mason, the head of responsible investment at Church Commissioners for England, a fund worth £8.3 billion, said runaway climate change had to be urgently addressed for the sake of a stable global economy.
"Climate change is by far the biggest issue in responsible investment, it is an urgent problem, the [direction] in which we are going is not good for the planet, society or investors," he said.
Mr Mason said the issue was a global, not national, one and while the Church was sensitive to the importance of resources to the Australian economy "it's important that there is a transition in all countries from the cost of coal".
"... We understand it's a long-term process but it is an urgent and important one and one that we can't escape for short-term political demands," he said.
Coal prices rising for Glencore (The Australian)