December 2020

‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ – John 1:4-5

Dear friends,

Christmas is almost upon us and this month we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on 2020. It may have been a strange year, but we’ve still been working to encourage the Church to take urgent action in response to the climate crisis.

We wish all of our readers a joyful, restful and peaceful Christmas. May you know the hope that comes with Jesus during this festive period.

We look forward to working with you in 2021, especially as the UK prepares to host the UN climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

All the best,
The Operation Noah team


2020 at Operation Noah

A look back at the work of Operation Noah this year.

Ivybridge Methodist Church divestment edit

January: 20 faith organisations announced their divestment from fossil fuels as part of the Epiphany Declaration for Fossil Free Churches.

February: The Church of England made a decision to go net zero by 2030. The Jesuits in Britain announced that they would be fully divested from fossil fuels by the end of 2020.


March: The Sisters of St Joseph of Peace announced that they had completed the divestment from fossil fuels of their UK investment portfolio. The Sisters made the decision to divest in 2018 and were 100% fossil free by 2019. Read more.


April: We published four case studies showing how faith organisations are investing in the clean energy future. They demonstrate how two cathedrals and a number of churches are making using of renewables on their buildings and investing in local community energy. Read them here. Sir John Houghton, a Patron of Operation Noah, passed away, aged 88. Read our tribute.

May: 42 faith institutions from 14 countries, including 21 from the UK, announced their divestment from fossil fuels. We worked with the World Council of Churches, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Green Anglicans and GreenFaith on this announcement. Read more.


June: We ran a webinar to launch our new report, Church investments in major oil companies: Paris compliant or Paris defiant? The report shows the gap between the business plans of major oil companies and the Paris Agreement targets, and calls on Churches in the UK to urgently divest from fossil fuels to tackle the climate emergency. It received coverage in national media including the i newspaper and the Telegraph. Watch the webinar.

July: 60 people joined us for our first ever online annual Operation Noah Supporters’ Day. We heard from David Pickering, Bokani Tshidzu and James Anthony. Listen back to keynote speeches and read the Chair’s Report from our AGM. The Methodist Conference supported a motion on fossil fuel divestment, referring a decision to Methodist Council in October.

August: More than 70 prominent civil society leaders – including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams – signed a letter countering the Pensions Minister Guy Opperman’s continued invested in fossil fuel companies. Read more.

Climate Sunday - black

September: Climate Sunday launched. Climate Sunday was originally proposed by Operation Noah and is now supported by 20 organisations and run by CTBI. It asks churches to hold a climate-themed service in the lead-up to COP26 next year, make a commitment to take action to reduce their own greenhouse gases, and ask politicians and world leaders to tackle the climate emergency. Get involved.

Augusto Zampini

October: During September and October, Operation Noah was involved in organising two webinars designed to help Catholic institutions both divest from fossil fuels and make investments with positive environmental and social impacts. Speakers included Lord Deben and Fr Augusto Zampini. They were each attended by more than 250 people. Watch them again here and here. The Methodist Council voted for a resolution on fossil fuel divestment.

November: 47 faith institutions from 21 countries, including the UK, announced their divestment from fossil fuels. In the UK, Catholic religious orders, United Reformed Church Synods and local Anglican and Methodist Churches joined the announcement.

Revd Elaine Garman speaks at the online Synod 2021 about the motion to commit to net zero by 2030.

December: The Scottish Episcopal Church made a decision to go net zero by 2030, following a similar decision by the Church of Scotland in October. The decision to is especially significant as Glasgow prepares to host the UN climate talks, COP26, in November 2021.

Catch up with our most recent blog posts

If young people were decision makers When world leaders decided to postpone UN climate talks for a year due to the pandemic, young people, recognising the urgency of the climate crisis, decided not only to hold their own, online conference but also to see if they could improve on the original plans. Josh Tregale reports.

At the crossroads of climate change As we mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement. Shilpita Mathews and Josh Evans consider our progress, and lack of, in implementing the agreement.

Climate Crisis Book Reviews Operation Noah board member, Nicky Bull, writes a short review of every book she reads. Here she shares her reviews of a number of books she has read in the last two years which we think will be of interest to Operation Noah supporters.

Operation Noah supports the CEE Bill Steph Lake explores the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill which has been written by an alliance of scientists, lawyers, academics and activists, orchestrated by the CEE Alliance, in an attempt to push the government to ACT and ACT NOW on the climate crisis!


Events, news and resources


Alternative Annunciation. Christian Climate Action has produced an alternative Annunciation image to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. It can be used as the front of a Christmas card, inserted into church notices and magazines, or printed as a poster. Download the image and find out more.

Climate and Colour. Green Christian and Christian Climate Action have organised four teaching sessions on the topic of ‘Climate and Colour’ during Advent. Listen back to the first three sessions and book for the final session.

Climate Emergency Toolkit. Tearfund, Christian Aid and several partners, including Operation Noah, have launched a Climate Emergency Toolkit for churches, designed to help churches declare or recognise a climate emergency. They are currently looking for churches to be early adopters ahead of a more formal launch in late January. Download the toolkit.

Food and Climate. Climate Sunday is focusing on ‘Food and Climate’ during December. Climate Sunday will have a different theme each month during the lead up to COP26 next year. Blog on the food theme.


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