Kirk’s decision to ‘engage’ with oil and gas criticised by prominent member

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Extracted crude oil splashes on a worker's hand as it's being pours from a pipe in the village of Wonocolo, East Java, Indonesia. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

A Green MSP has criticised the Church of Scotland’s decision to “critically engage” with polluting oil and gas companies, rather than divest church investments from destructive industries.

Ross Greer, a West of Scotland MSP and prominent member of the Church of Scotland’s National Youth Assembly, said the church has failed to support those suffering from the climate crisis and assert itself as a champion of social, environmental and economic justice as a result of its disappointing decision.

Mr Greer said:“The Church of Scotland, like many others, recognises the urgency of the climate crisis and does fantastic work to support those already suffering its consequences, such as climate refugees. That is why this dire decision is so disappointing. Critical engagement with oil and gas companies has got us nowhere, these are same companies responsible for this crisis and who actively suppressed the evidence of the damage they were doing for decades. Yet again we will deal with the consequences of a problem rather than solve the problem itself.

“The Kirk had opportunities to join others including Glasgow and Edinburgh universities, New York City and a growing number of other churches in facing up to reality and doing our part to tackle this crisis. Instead heads have once again been buried in the sand as we approach the tipping point, beyond which climate change cannot be stopped.

“I feel for all of those within the Church who have led the calls for full divestment and I know that this debate is far from over. Our problem is that winning slowly is the same as losing when it comes to climate change. Those of us who believe in climate justice must redouble our efforts to ensure that whether it’s the Church of Scotland or our £2bn council pension funds, Scotland lives up to our rhetoric and makes the contribution required to save our world from the crisis oil and gas companies have been at the heart of causing.”