To give up financial investments that generate profits through fossil fuels, such as oil and coal and natural gas: this is the objective of the campaign, launched in 2014 and expanded in the following years, by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, a network that includes about 650 organizations around the world. Traditional energy sources are in fact the main causes of global warming, i.e. climate change that is causing dramatic side effects in various regions of the world such as the progressive desertification of the sub-Saharan strip (Sahel), the melting of glaciers and the alteration of seasonal cycles.
The latter phenomenon primarily affects those populations tied to agriculture and carries different consequences such as over-populated cities, sudden waves of migration and famines. These are some of the themes placed at the centre of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, which gave further impetus to the initiative and is the backbone and reference of the initiative. Among other things, a black list has been drawn up that includes about 200 large companies and corporations that are largely responsible for global warming for their polluting emissions.
Finally, the campaign was joined by important Catholic institutions such as Caritas Internationalis, several dioceses including those of Salerno in Italy and Luxembourg, and by some important German Catholic banks, a sign that even in the financial world the idea that fossil fuels are not “convenient” in the long run is beginning to gain ground. There are 35 Catholic organizations that have chosen to disinvest in traditional energy sources, giving notice on 22 April, during World Earth Day, and that add up to another 60 that had previously joined the initiative with public announcements.
The accession of Caritas Internationalis, present in more than 200 countries around the world, is particularly significant, as it is at the centre of hundreds of projects of support and development aid in poor countries. Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of the Catholic body, commented on the decision to join the campaign: “The poor suffer greatly from the climate crisis and fossil fuels are the main drivers of this injustice. For this reason, he added, Caritas Internationalis has decided no longer to invest in fossil fuels. “We encourage our member organizations – the Cardinal said – and other groups and institutions connected to the Church to do the same”.
Also significant was the support of the main German Catholic banks…