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Monday, April 03, 2006


The willingness of various Churches to clamber aboard the environmentalist bandwaggon has been taken as evidence, according to preference, that they are taking a moral stand in the real world or that they are recognising that the Green movement is tapping the instincts of religious hysteria that conventional religion can no longer profit from. This certainly seems to suggest that the Archbishop's conversion will not interfere with his finances.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of hypocrisy for lecturing politicians on global warming while the Church of England reaps millions of pounds from shares in oil firms.
Rowan Williams warned last week that climate change was a “huge moral problem” that could cause billions of deaths. He said politicians who reject changes will face “a heavy responsibility before God”.

He added that the shortage of fuel supplies for high-fuel economies — “heavy-car-using economies to put it bluntly” — will be a factor in destabilising global politics in the next decade.

But an audit of the Church Commissioners’ investments shows its oil shares increased in value by £46.9m last year. Its portfolio includes more than £12m of shares in Exxon Mobil, the American oil group blamed for the world’s biggest environmental disaster when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska in 1989.....

Williams is chairman of the commissioners, who also have investments in BP worth £140m and shares in Shell totalling £80m. Another investment is BAA, the airports group, which has been partly blamed for the rise in carbon emissions because of the way it has encouraged cheap air travel.

Dan Lewis, of the Economic Research Council, a think tank, said: “If anyone wanted proof that for some people global warming has become a religion this is it. It is hilarious that the church has shares in Exxon.”

But John Reynolds, chairman of the Church of England’s ethical advisory group, said: “The investments we have allow us to have an active dialogue with the oil companies about the environment.”

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said: “The archbishop’s leadership has never been about micro-management and investment decisions. It is more about leading by example.”

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