The Fossil Free campaign is calling on Pope Francis to support and lead in the fossil fuel divestment movement as he visits the Philippines, the country devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
The campaign, which is organised by 350.org, urges the Pope to throw the weight of the Vatican behind the growing divestment movement. It calls on him to help usher in a fossil fuel free era to address climate change and help protect communities vulnerable to its effects, including the Philippines.
Lidy Nacpol, a 350.org board member, said, “As Pope Francis prepares to visit the impacted communities from Super Typhoon Haiyan, we need him to stand in defence of human kind and the environment and take the lead in actions that will help prevent further climate catastrophes.
“One such urgent action is full divestment from the fossil fuel industry. We urge the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church to lead the way.”
Since coming into office in 2013, Pope Francis has spoken out on a variety of environmental issues, including climate change and sustainability. He has previously commented that economic development should respect “God’s creation” and told workers and employers that men should safeguard the Earth.
Reports suggest that Pope Francis is set to take the unprecedented step of issuing a call for Catholics to act on climate change.
“We look to Pope Francis to break the political impasse preventing real action on climate change. Twenty years of climate negotiations have left the world at the mercy of political and economic circles looking to protect their vested interests at the expense of mankind and the planet,” commented Yeb Saño, Philippine climate change commissioner.
“The climate change crisis is a reflection of a profound global moral crisis, and as such church organisations play an important role in untangling us from this mess. One way this can be done is for the church to examine not just the purity of its vestment but where it puts its investments.”
The Fossil Free campaign has been gathering momentum in recent years, with more religious institutions, universities and pension funds committing to cutting fossil fuels out of their investment portfolios. If the Pope responds to the calls, the Vatican would join the World Council of Churches, the Anglican diocese of Wellington, and the Quakers of the UK, amongst others, in removing exposure to polluting energy sources.
Photo: Semilla Luz via Flickr