Category : Energy, Natural Resources

(Church Times) C of E urged to pull out of fossil fuels

CHRISTIAN AID has challenged the Church of England to disinvest from fossil fuels, after it emerged that the Archbishop of Canterbury was involved in persuading a major investment fund to pull its own money out fossil fuels.

BMO Global Asset Management’s range of “responsible” funds will no longer invest in any company which has reserves of fossil fuels, it an­­nounced on Monday. Archbishop Welby is the president of the firm’s ethical advisory council, and report­edly played a key part in pushing through the change in policy, which will be implemented by 2020.

Christian Aid is now ques­tioning why the Archbishop cannot play the same part closer to home and pull the C of E’s own investments out of fossil-fuel reserves.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market

(Rabbi Jonathan Sacks) Never forget how we, so small, are blessed to be part of a universe so great

I was riveted by a television program this week called The Day the Dinosaurs Died. It was about a team of scientists who’ve been drilling deep into the rock beneath the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico at the precise point where a 9 mile wide asteroid crashed into the Earth 66 million years ago with an impact equal to ten billion Hiroshima atomic bombs. The result was a dense cloud of sulphur that plunged the planet into a global winter, killing the dinosaurs and causing the greatest mass extinction in history. The result was space for small mammals to flourish, including eventually Homo sapiens, i.e. us.

What was fascinating was the scientists’ conclusion that what made the difference wasn’t that the asteroid struck but precisely where. Had it fallen thirty seconds earlier in deep waters, or thirty seconds later on dry land, the impact wouldn’t have been so great. The dinosaurs would have survived and we might never have emerged. Thirty seconds isn’t that long, even in a Thought for the Day, let alone when set against the four and a half billion years of the existence of planet Earth.

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Posted in Energy, Natural Resources, History, Judaism, Science & Technology, Theology

(AP) South Carolina Gas Tax Increase Becomes Law After Senate Overrides Vet

The South Carolina Senate has voted to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of the gas tax that raises money to fix roads, meaning the measure will now become law.

The final vote was 32-12. It came nearly two hours after the House also overrode the veto by 95-18 vote.

The move means the measure is now finally approved, and will officially become law on July 1

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Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, State Government, Taxes

(AJ) Anglican primates of Oceania speak out on climate change

The Anglican primates of Oceania, who have been meeting in Australia, have warned of the threat to their region from climate change. In a joint statement, the five Primates said : “We agreed that as whole nations of ocean people lose their island homes, climate justice advocacy and action must become the most urgent priority for Oceanic Anglicans.”

Archbishop Philip Freier of Australia, Archbishop Clyde Igara of Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Winston Halapua, and Archbishop Philip Richardson of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Archbishop George Takeli of Melanesia met in Tweed Heads, in New South Wales. They noted that they were four provinces covering many nations, more than 1,000 languages, with rich and diverse cultures. They said they were united through the interweaving of history and long friendships, but were coming together against a backdrop of disharmony:

“We gather at a time when the rhetoric of nationalism, ridicule, fear-mongering, and hatred is so prevalent. In such a climate where ‘me first’ or ‘we first’ dominates, we affirm: ‘we together.’”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

Sunday Mental Health Break–The largest glacier calving ever filmed

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Energy, Natural Resources, Photos/Photography

(CBS News) Rare "firefall" phenomenon at Yosemite National Park

When the sun hits Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park at just the right angle, the falls light up as if on fire, attracting spectators from all over hoping to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon, CBS San Francisco reports.

Horsetail Fall is a small waterfall that flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan, the famous rock formation in Yosemite Valley.

For about two weeks in mid to late February, the setting sun creates a deep orange glow when it strikes the waterfall. That orange glow does not happen every year, as it depends on conditions like water flows, clouds and temperature.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Energy, Natural Resources, Photos/Photography

(ACNS) Anglican Churches around the globe launch "JustWater"

Cathedrals and churches on four continents have come together to raise awareness and activism about water by launching the JustWater website. It’s an international initiative organised by St George’s Cathedral (Cape Town); St Paul’s Cathedral (London); St Paul’s Cathedral (Melbourne); and Trinity Church Wall Street (New York). The project aims to draw attention to the issues around water – whether these challenges are flooding, drought, rising tides or access to fresh water and sanitation. The Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, is the keynote speaker at the launch of the initiative tonight (Monday) in London.

In the coming weeks, major events are scheduled to coincide with the season of Lent and around UN World Water Day on 22 March 2017 to support social justice efforts on water issues. Canon Heather Patacca, Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, said “For many of us access to fresh water is something we take for granted unlike those who walk half a day to draw water from a well or stream. Nothing exists without water. Water raises issues of justice and equity but looks different in each local context.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

An American u've probably never heard of–John Arnold's War on Bad Science

Fortune Magazine once dubbed [John] Arnold “one of the least-known billionaires in the US.” His profile in the public consciousness is almost nonexistent, and he rarely gives interviews. But among hedge funders and energy traders, Arnold is a legend. John D’Agostino, former head of strategy of the New York Mercantile Exchange, says that in Arnold’s heyday, people in the industry would discuss him in “hushed and reverent tones.” In 2006, Centaurus reportedly saw returns of over 300 percent; the next year Arnold became the youngest billionaire in the country. “If Arnold decided he wanted to beat hunger,” D’Agostino says, “I wouldn’t want to bet on hunger.”

For all the swagger of that description, Arnold himself has virtually none. He is universally described as quiet and introspective. At Enron, a company famous for its brash, testosterone-laced cowboy culture, the perennially boyish-looking trader was reportedly so soft-spoken that his colleagues had to gather in close to hear him at restaurants. “People would read into it, and they would say he’s just being cagey,” D’Agostino says. “And then, after a couple of years, people were like, oh, no, he’s actually like that.”

Read it all from Wired.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Theology

([London] Times) Fracking is acceptable, says Church of England

The Church of England’s briefing paper was drawn up by its mission and public affairs council, led by Philip Fletcher, and its environment working group, chaired by the Bishop of Salisbury. It is being issued to environmental officers in every diocese and is intended to help to inform bishops and other leading clergy as the church is increasingly pressured by local campaigners to take a stand.

The document says fracking can be “a morally acceptable practice” if it forms part of a transition to a greener economy and is subject to robust regulation and planning procedures. “Having concluded that shale gas may be a useful component in transitioning to a low carbon economy, we are persuaded that a robust planning and regulatory regime could be constructed,” it says.

It also says it is “essential” that legitimate concerns of those who face disruption from fracking are heard and that “appropriate protections and compensation are in place”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

This is just lovely!

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Croatia, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Photos/Photography

(Guardian) Texas scientist and evangelical takes to the web to convert climate cynics

Hayhoe is the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she teaches and conducts research as an atmospheric scientist and an associate professor of political science.

As a Texas-dwelling, evangelical Christian, atmospheric scientist, Hayhoe can often win the ears of many religious communities, receive invitations to address students at Christian colleges, or have conversations with mega-church-going Republican climate cynics she otherwise mightn’t meet or who wouldn’t listen.

Her faith and, now, her web series, has led many people to tell her they had believed or suspected that human-influenced climate change was a liberal hoax but that she has changed their minds, she said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

13 International Asset Owners Desire to Embed Climate Concerns in Investment Decisions

Thirteen leading international asset owners and five asset managers with over £2 trillion under management launched the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) today to better understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy affects their investments. The TPI will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy through a public, transparent online tool. The heads of funds involved launched the Initiative this morning at the opening of the stock market at the London Stock Exchange.

The Initiative has been led by the Church of England’s National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund in partnership with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Data has been provided by FTSE Russell.

Preliminary assessments released today include the oil and gas and electricity utilities sectors. As part of a phased rollout, management quality and carbon performance assessments of additional sectors and individual companies will follow in the coming months.

Read it all from the C of E.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

(Church Times) Spring push to end fossil-fuel reliance

Churches, parishes, and indi­viduals will be urged next spring to join a global disinvestment mobil­isa­tion to end the dependence on fossil fuels.

The campaign Bright Now will launch the event next May to increase pressure on big investors to move their money away from coal, oil, and gas producers into green-energy technologies.

The campaign, which is run by a Christian charity that campaigns on climate change, Operation Noah, is putting together a resource for churches on how they can disinvest from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

(Guardian) Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.

Copenhagen municipality has been carrying out manual traffic counts at a number of city centre locations since 1970, when there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes. In 2009, the city installed its first electric bike counter by city hall, with 20 now monitoring traffic across the city.

Copenhagen’s efforts to create a cycling city have paid off: bicycle traffic has risen by 68% in the last 20 years. “What really helped was a very strong political leadership; that was mainly Ritt Bjerregaard [the former lord mayor], who had a dedicated and authentic interest in cycling,” says Klaus Bondam, who was technical and environmental mayor from 2006 to 2009 and is now head of the Danish Cycling Federation. “Plus, a new focus on urbanism and the new sustainability agenda broke the glass roof when it came to cycling.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Denmark, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Bp Robert Innes–All Saints’ Day: Life (and Death) in the Forest

It has been a glorious autumn, with wonderful blue skies, pinky-red sunsets and delightfully mild temperatures. Today is All Saints Day: a major public holiday in Belgium as in many Catholic countries. So what better than to head out into the forest to see the trees in all their autumn glory….

The vocation of most clergy, at least those who work in ”˜churches of the land’, is very much bound into the cycle of birth, life, maturing, dying and death. Baptisms, weddings, funerals ”“ the ”˜occasional offices’ ”“ take up a good part of the typical clergy week. This is less so for clergy in the Diocese in Europe serving diaspora congregations with less connection to a territory and its inhabitants. Whilst clergy in typical parish churches might expect to conduct two or (many) more funerals a week ”“ that’s less common in the Diocese in Europe.

My own life ”“ and here I am like many of the lay people in our diocese ”“ is lived to a considerable degree in environments far removed from the natural rhythms of the forest: offices, airports, hotels and the railway lines and roads that connect them. These environments are designed to feel comfortably the same 24 hours a day 365 days a year, with continuous lighting, constant Wi-Fi and non-stop coffee.

Living in these kinds of environments could lead us to minimise or even forget the profound cycle of change that is built into the natural environment.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe