But church stops short from an outright ban of all fossil fuel
A vote by the Church of Scotland’s general assembly means the Kirk will no longer invest in companies deemed to be worst at causing pollution.
The motion compels the church's investment funds to withdraw from companies significantly involved in tar sands, a highly destructive form of oil extraction, and coal.
A petition begun by Church of Scotland members and calling for complete divestment from fossil fuels received almost 3,000 names in just over three weeks.
But the motion stops short of divestment from all fossil fuels, the approach taken by the University of Glasgow and the United Reform Church in Scotland, who have pledged to go completely fossil free.
Gillian Cummins, Church of Scotland member in the Ross of Mull, said: “The urgency of this situation is such that it must take precedence. To continue with the status quo is to be complicit in the devastation of land, homes and livelihoods, as well as threatening our children’s future through runaway climate change.
Millions of people are being affected by climate change today and they are not the people who have caused it - Ross Greer
“Is it truly the will of congregations across the country, that the Kirk’s money is being invested in petroleum companies and fracking projects?”
Ric Lander from Friends of the Earth Scotland said fossil fuels are destroying communities across the world and wrecking the earth's climate and profiting from companies which are wrecking our future cannot be fitting for an organisation that stands for global justice.
“Divestment from the worst fossil fuels is welcome, but the Church of Scotland should go further and go completely fossil free,” said added.
Newly elected MSP Ross Greer campaigned on the issue as a member of the Church of Scotland’s National Youth Assembly.
He said: “The Church of Scotland has been at the forefront of campaigns on everything from tax dodging to tackling climate change. Our faith compels us to act when we see injustice and that should be no clearer than in the case of the fossil fuel industry.
“This isn’t just about giving future generations a planet worth living on; millions of people are being affected by climate change today and they are not the people who have caused it.
"The church is rightly campaigning for climate justice but we must start by ensuring our own house is in order and divest from fossil fuels.”