Catholic Church to Make Record Divestment From Fossil Fuels

Catholic Church to Make Record Divestment From Fossil Fuels

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In a groundbreaking stance against climate change, over 40 different Catholic institutions have announced a collective divestment of oil, coal, and fossil fuels.

Some of the institutions, including the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium, and the diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, made the pledge on the anniversary of St Francis of Assisi’s death.

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While the amount of money to be divested is still unclear, Carnitas, the Catholic church bank and charity participating in the divestment, is worth $5.2 billion (€4.5 billion) alone. Additionally, the number of Catholic groups who have joined the environmentally-driven initiative has broken the previous record for Catholic institutions banding together against climate change, says the Guardian.

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said: “I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit, because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.”

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The gesture is indicative of a larger stance against climate change, too – earlier this year, Irish Parliament announced the historic Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which divested over $8.5 billion from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, making Ireland the first country in the world to divest its sovereign wealth from coal, oil, and gas. The legislation passed in a 90 to 53 majority vote.

“With a climate-skeptic recently inaugurated into the White House, this move by elected representatives in Ireland will send out a powerful message,” said Éamonn Meehan of Trócaire. “The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: That to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis.”

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(Photo by Thomas Depenbusch, CC)

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