August 2021

Dear Friends,

On 9 August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its long-awaited report which showed that the world has the rest of this decade to cut carbon emissions in half if it hopes to limit warming to 1.5C and thus avoid the most dangerous impacts of the climate crisis. This latest IPCC report also made it clear that the human contribution to our changing climate is now ‘unequivocal’ – the strongest language the IPCC has ever used.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, called the report a ‘code red for humanity’, and it has bolstered calls for governments to ban all future fossil fuel developments, something the International Energy Agency advocated earlier this year, and something campaigners are urging the UK Government to do as it considers whether to approve a new oil field west of Shetland.

The IPCC report kicked off what will be a frenzied two months of campaigning as governments around the world are pressed to take stronger action on the climate crisis in the lead-up to COP26, the UN Conference on Climate Change to be held in Glasgow in November.

Of special note to us is the fact that this IPCC report was dedicated to Sir John Houghton, a Christian physicist, former Oxford professor, former co-chair of the IPCC Scientific Assessment Working Group and former Operation Noah patron who shared the Nobel Prize with IPCC colleagues in 2007 and died last year. John is the grandfather of one of our current trustees, Hannah Malcolm. As Hannah wrote on Twitter, ‘(John) spent years fighting misinformation campaigns and trying to persuade fossil fuel companies to reform, and yet here we are...when it comes to the fossil fuel industry, we’ve tried the persuade and inform approach. We really have. And we’re still careering off a cliff, because they knew the truth and chose to lie.’

To that end, we’re continuing to work with churches, dioceses, religious orders, universities and faith groups to divest from all fossil fuels – or commit never to invest in fossil fuels if they haven’t already – as part of our Global Divestment Announcement in October. If your church or diocese would like to join our announcement, email bokani.tshidzu@operationnoah.org.

We’re also launching a listening campaign in September around the Church of England’s investments in fossil fuels. As part of this campaign, we’ll train 20 leaders from 10 dioceses to have conversations with at least 200 people around the country – conversations we hope will help us build our #DivestCofE campaign, empower new leaders and create change. If you would like to attend a one-hour online training session in order to learn how to lead a listening meeting on this topic, email us at communications@operationnoah.org.

The Operation Noah Team

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As the Diocese of Sodor and Man joins the divestment movement, we're inviting more Church of England dioceses to divest from fossil fuels, or commit never to invest.

As we briefly mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the Diocese of Sodor and Man recently became the third Church of England diocese to divest from all fossil fuels or make a commitment never to invest in the future. James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager for Operation Noah, said: ‘It is wonderful news that the Diocese of Sodor and Man has decided to divest from fossil fuels, especially ahead of the crucial UN climate talks, COP26, later this year. We hope that many more Church of England dioceses will join them in the months ahead in divesting from fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.’ Read more

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Climate Sunday service from Glasgow Cathedral on 5 September

On Sunday 5 September 2021 at 4pm, Christians from across Britain and Ireland will gather in Glasgow Cathedral ahead of COP26. The service will be live-streamed from the cathedral, in the heart of the city where the UN climate talks will take place in November, and will feature contributions from Christian charities, including Operation Noah. More than 1,600 UK churches have already held a Climate Sunday service, and the Nations’ Climate Sunday service will celebrate this achievement, present churches’ pledges to work for change and call on the UK Government to do more on climate. Register to watch the service online.

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The Year We Broke Our Climate. Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College, London, explores the conclusions of the IPCC report and implores the Church of England to divest from all fossil fuels immediately.


My Week Walking the YCCN Relay/ Pilgrimage for Climate Justice. Young Christian Climate Network member Hannah Eves writes about her 7-day, 80-mile walk for climate justice and what she and her YCCN colleagues want politicians to do to care for the most vulnerable.

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‘Rejoice, repent and respond’. One of our trustees, Shilpita Matthews, recently preached at Raleigh Road United Church in Richmond, London, where she drew on her personal experiences with climate change while also incorporating stories and insights of people living in climate-vulnerable countries, as provided by Tearfund.


Resources, news, events and opportunities

Greenpeace UK has launched an important petition demanding that Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Business Secretary, cancel the proposed Cambo oil field west of Shetland. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that all future oil and gas developments must be stopped if we hope to keep global warming to 1.5C. The IEA has also said that the world is already able to access more oil and gas than can be safely burned. The Cambo oil field could produce up to 170 million barrels of crude oil over 25 years. Please sign the petition.

Denmark and Costa Rica are forging an alliance of counties willing to fix a date to phase out oil and gas production and to stop giving new permits for exploration. Burning fossil fuels is the main source of the greenhouse gas emissions heating the planet, but so far there has been no collective government action to end oil and gas production. Read more.

In late August, members of Christian Climate Action joined XR protesters in Central London for the start of two weeks of protests, with a specific focus on the City of London and its ongoing financing of fossil fuels. Within the first two days, more than 100 peaceful protestors were arrested, including several Christians. Read more.

Dr Rachel Mash, who coordinates the Environmental Network in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has written a book on environmental discipleship called, Renewing the Life of the Earth: Christian Discipleship and Environmental Action (Grove Books). In the book, which you can order here, Rachel mentions divestment, writing, ‘...churches are choosing to take their money out of fossil fuels. Could you challenge your diocese or speak to your financial advisor and make sure that your funds are not invested in fossil fuels?’

Operation Noah trustee Cameron Conant spoke with UCB News earlier this month about the IPCC report as well as how people can take action on the climate crisis, and some of the steps the UK government should take to address the challenges. Listen to the interview here.


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