Update on Resolutions to Establish a Fossil Fuel Investment Screen

May 13, 2015

There is a growing movement within the United Methodist Church to screen out fossil fuel companies from United Methodist investment portfolios as a response to threats posed by climate change.  The California-Nevada Board of Pensions, Council on Finance and Administration, and Advocacy and Justice Committee have held several conference calls with the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (GBPHB) in a “consultative process” called for by the 2014 Annual Conference Resolution in support of an investment screen expressing United Methodist Social Principles on the Natural World
This task force has drafted two resolutions that will be considered at the California-Nevada Annual Conference gathering in Burlingame in June.  The proposed resolutions call for amendments that would add “greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels” to current investment screens listed in 1) the United Methodist Book of Resolutions and 2) the United Methodist Book of Discipline.   The text of the resolutions (#21 and #22) are available by clicking here.  If passed, fossil fuels would be added to current investment screens based on United Methodist Social Principles.  Current screens include:  “investments that support, directly or indirectly, racial discrimination, violation of human rights, sweatshop or forced labor,” nuclear and other weapons, private prisons, pornography, gambling, tobacco, and alcohol.
If these resolutions pass, they will be drafted into legislation to be considered at the 2016 General Conference, together with similar resolutions from other annual conferences.  The Fossil Free UMC network extends across the United Methodist denomination, with coordinated activity in sixteen annual conferences, including California-Nevada.  It is part of a growing movement of faith communities, colleges, universities, cities, counties, foundations, and nonprofit organizations that are screening out fossil fuels.  
This movement within the United Methodist Church has experienced some recent successes.  In January the United Methodist General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (GBPHB), the largest denominational pension fund in the United States, announced that it would screen out thermal coal from its investments.  In April, the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), which works on the front lines in regions impacted by extreme weather events made worse by climate change, announced its support of FFUMC legislation that would exclude not just coal, but also oil and natural gas, from United Methodist investment portfolios. 
For more information, or to schedule a presentation, contact the Rev. Sharon Delgado at sharondelgado@earth-justice.org, or at (530) 265-5976.