Protestant group votes to divest from fossil fuels

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A group of Protestant churches has become the first national religious body in the U.S. to vote to divest its pension funds and investments from fossil fuel companies because of climate change concerns.

The United Church of Christ voted at its national convention this week to divest in stages over the next five years, but left open the possibility of keeping some investments if fossil fuel companies meet certain standards.

United Church Funds President Donald Hart says in a statement that they “believe creation deserves no less” and that individual members will also need to make “difficult changes.”

Harvard University professor Theda Skocpol says the vote is significant because it brings the debate over climate change “into the heart of American communities.”

The United Church of Christ has about 1.1 million members in 5,100 congregations.

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