Vatican Praises Faith-Based Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Pope Francis listens to the speech of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as they attend a meeting with the diplomatic community at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on November 25, 2019. - Pope Francis called on November 25 for renewed efforts to help victims of Japan's 2011 "triple disaster" …
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ROME — Vatican News praised the decision of 47 faith-based institutions to divest from fossil fuels, saying the move followed “the Vatican’s guidelines on ethical investments.”

“Global efforts to promote divestment from fossil fuels expanded further as 47 faith institutions announced their divestment from fossil fuels on Monday, in the largest-ever announcement of its kind among religious leaders,” the article stated.

This announcement follows the Vatican’s publication of ecological guidelines, which encouraged Catholics to avoid investing in companies “that harm human or social ecology (for example, through abortion or the arms trade), or environmental ecology (for example, through the use of fossil fuels).”

According to the Global Catholic Climate Movement, 42 Catholic institutions and five additional Protestant and Jewish institutions have severed ties with the fossil fuel industry in a bid to help tackle the climate crisis.

“Every dollar invested in fossil fuels is a vote for suffering,” said Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Global Catholic Climate Movement. “These institutions are taking prophetic action to light the way towards a more just and sustainable future because now more than ever, we need to protect our communities and build a just recovery together.”

The Movement rejects arguments from climate change skeptics, insisting that it is a “myth” that the climate has always changed or that climate models are not accurate. It also asserts that there is no difference of opinion among scientists regarding the climate crisis.

Father Manuel Barrios Prieto, Secretary-General of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (COMECE) said that the European Bishops joins the movement to divest from fossil fuels and encouraged others to also take concrete steps to solve the climate crisis.

Father Prieto underscored the importance of specific political solutions to the problem, insisting on the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the European Green Deal, adding that “solving the climate crisis protects the human family from the dangers of a warming world, and decisive action is needed now more than ever.”

For his part, Pope Francis became the first pope in history to dedicate an entire encyclical letter to the environment and has declared that skepticism regarding manmade climate change is “perverse.”

Last year, the pontiff urged the passage of a carbon tax to dissuade people from relying on fossil fuels.

“Dear friends, time is running out!” the pope told a group of participants in a 2019 Vatican-sponsored conference on energy transition. “We cannot afford the luxury of waiting for others to come forward or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits. The climate crisis requires decisive action from us, here and now.”

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