Divesting from fossil fuels is not so simple

RE “CHURCHES urge pulling fossil fuel investments” (Metro, June 30): There are two significant problems with divesting from fossil fuels. The first is that so-called ethical funds have a lower expected return on assets. It is reasonable and acceptable to invest in such funds, but before doing so, it would only be right to confirm with all beneficiaries of the investment that they are willing to accept this lower return. All stakeholders in such a fund should agree to accept this lower return.

The second problem is that if you want to divest fossil fuels from your portfolio, you would need to eliminate many investment choices. Quite simply, fossil fuels are the oil that greases our entire economic system. Would you also divest from the airlines and truckers? What about food companies? It takes considerable fossil fuel to produce fertilizers, run farm machinery, and transport farm products to market. What about utilities, which burn the coal that provides electricity to many of our homes?


Divesting from fossil fuel sounds like a simple choice that will help change the world. However, if you dig a bit deeper, you will find it is far more complex. A large organization such as the United Church of Christ should take the time to do this digging.

Chris Williams


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