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July 8, 2013


STOP THE PRESSES! The UCC Saves the World!!!

Or not. In a decision that will not effect anything in the real world, but make a handful of religious leftists feel good about themselves, the United Church of Christ has voted to divest from fossil fuel companies.

A group of Protestant churches has become the first U.S. religious body to vote to divest its pension funds and investments from fossil fuel companies because of climate change concerns.

The United Church of Christ, which traces its origins back to the Pilgrims in 1620 and has about 1.1 million members in 5,100 congregations, voted on Monday to divest in stages over the next five years. But it left open the possibility of keeping some investments if the fossil fuel companies meet certain standards.

“Implementing the multiple strategies outlined in this resolution will demand time, money and care — but we believe creation deserves no less,” United Church Funds President Donald Hart said in a statement. The affiliated group has managed church investments since 1909.

I’m sure this will get the attention of the oil companies, cause them to stop raping the planet and go into the wind and solar business, right? Ocean levels will start receding, CO2 will disappear, cow emissions will smell like roses, etc. Not so much:

Harvard University professor Theda Skocpol, who has written about the politics of the climate change movement and divestment efforts, called the move significant.

Skocpol said she doesn’t think the divestment movement is “going to bring the fossil fuel industry to its knees” but that it is symbolically significant, since action by a national church group brings the debate over climate change “into the heart of American communities.”

“This is definitely part of changing community and elite opinion” in America, she said.

“Symbolically significant.” You can put that on the epitaph of every mainline denomination in America. It doesn’t matter whether their actions, decisions, and resolutions make any difference in the real world, as long as they are “symbolically significant.” Oh, and that’s pretty much the way academia works as well, as Skocpol nicely demonstrates. This decision will not in any way “chang[e] community and elite opinion,” because community and elite opinion” really don’t give a cow emission about what the UCC thinks about anything. The UCC, especially in its assembled leadership, is nothing but a collection of 1960s retreads, trying to recapture the glory days of their youth and once again prove that Billy Joel nailed them:

Why would anyone with any sense at all pay attention to people like that?


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9 comments

“I’m sure this will get the attention of the oil companies, cause them to stop raping the planet and go into the wind and solar business, right? “

I don’t know if it is still true, but a few years ago, after reading about small scale solar electricity projects to supply power to isolated towns and villages in Africa, I looked up the producers of the solar equipment.  Largest supplier of solar equipment to Africa, at the time? UCC? Nope. TEC? Nope. UCC would never guess- it was British Petroleum.

I will take a church seriously on such “divestment” strategies when their hierarchy stops driving cars, stops meeting at Disneyland, Ecquador or even Cincinnati or anywhere they you have to fly to.  Maybe just hold a synod once every 25 years, and give everyone a year’s notice, so they can walk.  Or I suppose they could ride horses, as long as they collect the manure along the way, and drop it off at organic farms for composting.  And remember- no synthetic fabrics, no paved roads, and no computers for the church hierarchy either. And electric cars?  Forget it- producing the electricity to charge the things burns fossil fuels, or requires nuclear reactors, and the battery production will deplete rare earth elements and be a major waste disposal problem.

[1] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-8-2013 at 10:25 AM · [top]

Forget the A/C in the summer and heat in the winter, and forget the sound systems (yea!) too. Eliminate the congregation and you will decrease C)2 emissions as well.

[2] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-8-2013 at 10:51 AM · [top]

Oops, CO2

[3] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-8-2013 at 10:51 AM · [top]

At their own investment portfolio’s peril. 

UCC members….get ready to write bigger checks to make up the difference!

The good news - is that most fossil fuels here in the USA - particularly the much-hated (by the left) coal will still be in the ground ready for our use once people become cold enough in the winter, hot enough in the summer, and hungry enough year-round.

[4] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 7-8-2013 at 10:52 AM · [top]

Kind of fun to skim through the various resolutions passed at UCC General Synod: almost everything is somehow political. The prevailing sentiment among UCC officials seems to be that righteousness comes from community organizing.

[5] Posted by Jeff Walton on 7-8-2013 at 11:27 AM · [top]

D005-2015.  Be it resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that
a) due to the embarrassment caused by the UCC thinking up a radical program of disinvestment before we got around to it;
b) due to global warming causing severe blizzards in the diocese Northern Michigan, which have inconvenienced 5 paid clergy, 167 mutual ministry volunteer clergy, and the 457 non-ordained churchgoers of the diocese;
c) due to the increased cost of litigation which hasn’t left any money to pay the bill in any case;

005.1 TEC apologize to all past generations of people who might have been enlightened in their own time had TEC followed more socially conscious investment policy.
005.2 TEC immediately put in place such policies as are necessary to reduce the energy consumption of all bishops conciliated since 2012, including, but not limited to, requiring they use only public transportation and removing window air conditioners from their homes.
005.03 Establish a task force to envision ways in which the vast quantities of hot air generated at HoB meetings could be transported to Manhattan and utilized to heat 815.
  005.03.1 The task force shall comprise the 250 most senior members of the HoD, and the PB’s staff.
  005.03.2 The task force shall meet every two years, beginning in 2016, at a time coincident and at the site of the Summer or Winter Olympic games, such being the ideal time and place to examine the impact of climate change on unique environments around the globe, and meet with many different peoples to assess the impact of the TEC 815 heating paradigm on their lives, and improved the climate in their part of the world, and how everything is generally wonderful due to TEC.
  005.03.3 GC will provide funding for reasonable accommodations (Hilton or better quality), meals, and all venue access passes, if their is money left in the coffers after the annual legal funding.

[6] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-8-2013 at 12:03 PM · [top]

tjmcmahon,

In 2009, General Convention memorialized the Genesis Covenant, which is a national, ecumenical effort by religious communities to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from every facility they maintain by at least 50% within 10 years.

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/eco-justice

I have suspected that their strategy to achieve this goal is through a systematic reduction in conservative CO2 emitting membership. I am looking forward to 2019 in order to evaluate the results of the genesis covenant.

[7] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-8-2013 at 12:17 PM · [top]

I would expect the Genesis Covenant to be at least as successful as the 20/20 initiative.

[8] Posted by Kubla on 7-8-2013 at 10:43 PM · [top]

That’s it!  Build more wind turbines!  Kill more birds!  Plan on only using electric power when the wind is blowing sufficiently to power the grid.  Otherwise, power off.  Good plan.

[9] Posted by Katherine on 7-9-2013 at 06:31 AM · [top]

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