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Church of England’s General Synod Endorses Net Zero Strategy

Keeping up with the Church of England (CoE) pensions board and Church Commissioners, a new strategy for transitioning all UK-based cathedrals, churches, schools and theological education institutions to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 has received the green light. The General Synod, which considers and approves legislation for the CoE, noted that investing capital in the transition means the Church is “putting our money where our missional mouth is”, said the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell. As well as committing £190 million to the CoE’s transition to net zero, the General Synod also approved £20 million for work to promote racial justice. In its 2021 stewardship report, the CoE pensions board noted that it’s around ten years ahead on its 2050 net zero target, having reduced its holdings in oil and gas companies to 0.28% of the fund. As a member of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Church Commissioners has committed to reducing its portfolio’s carbon intensity by 25% by 2025, fully transitioning to net zero by 2050. The Bishop of Norwich and the CoE’s lead Bishop for the Environment Graham Usher, said: “[The strategy] focuses first on simple steps that every church community can take. Changing to LED lighting on a renewable energy tariff, reducing draughts, good maintenance – each has a part of how we live this out, especially for our rural church. If we think of reaching net zero as a list of ten things, eight of them are fairly straightforward and let’s work together on the other two.” 

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