Institutions to divest from fossil fuels

Thursday, October 05, 2017 - Updated: 1:54 pm

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Forty Catholic institutions, including the Belgian bishops’ conference and a leading church social welfare agency in South Africa, have decided to divest from fossil fuel companies.

The organizations cited the call of Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” to take steps to protect the environment as well as the importance of making investments that lead to a carbon-neutral economy in an effort to address climate change.

Up to 97 percent of climate scientists have attributed climate change to human activity, at least in part.

The Oct. 3 announcement came as the monthlong “Season of Creation” ended and the church prepared to observe the feast of St. Francis of Assisi the next day.

In most cases, divestment is expected to take several years to accomplish.

The value of investments the institutions committed to divest totals more than $5 trillion, the Catholic climate group reported.

Other Catholic entities joining the divestment movement include the Argentine Network of Environment and Development; Australian Jesuit Province; Bank for the Church and Caritas in Germany; School Sisters of Notre Dame; Union of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ireland; the Italian dioceses of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, Caserta and Gubbio; Sierra Leone Young Christian Student Movement; Sacro Convento, the Franciscan friary that houses the remains of St. Francis; Catholic Action for Animals in the United Kingdom; and the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico.

More information on the divestment effort is available online at http://catholicclimatemovement.global/divest-and-reinvest.

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