Pope Francis calls on fossil fuel bosses to switch to renewable energy
Pope Francis has directly appealed to oil and gas companies to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy in order to prevent climate change pushing the world’s poorest people deeper into poverty. The Pope issued the call at a meeting held in the Vatican on Saturday 9 June 2018 attended by executives from many of the largest global energy companies.
The Holy Father told the fossil fuel representatives that switching to clean energy such as solar and wind power “is a duty that we owe towards millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, poorer countries and generations yet to come”.
Add your voice to the Pope’s call to bring energy access to poor communities
Renewables, not fossil fuels, needed for energy access
Some energy industry figures have tried to argue that fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are necessary to tackle poverty, as people need access to energy to pull themselves out of poverty. However, the burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of the climate change which is having the greatest impact on poor communities.
“We received the earth as a garden-home from the Creator; let us not pass it on to future generations as a wilderness” – Pope Francis
And research from CAFOD and groups such as the Overseas Development Institute has shown that off-grid energy powered by renewable sources such as solar power are usually the quickest, cheapest, safest and most reliable way of bringing electricity to poor communities. Pope Francis echoed this, telling the oil and gas bosses that “the more than one billion people without electricity today need to gain access to it” if we are to end energy poverty, but “that energy should also be clean” – not generated by fossil fuels. Francis said:
“Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty”.
We must meet Paris Agreement commitments to protect the poorest people
The Pontiff reminded the energy leaders at the Rome meeting that searching for new fossil fuels to burn is incompatible with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises. Instead, business leaders must speed up the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy as it is “the poor who suffer most from the ravages of global warming”. The Pope said:
“Many of those who can least afford it are already being forced to leave their homes and migrate to other places that may or may not prove welcoming. Many more will need to do so in the future.”
Dialogue to care for our common home
Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD, said:
“The Holy Father wrote in Laudato Si’ that he wanted to ‘enter into dialogue with all people about our common home’. Preaching to the not-yet-converted at this week’s meeting is an example of the Church doing exactly this.
“Francis reminds us in his encyclical that ‘Business is a noble vocation’, but also asks why anyone would want to be remembered for failing to act when the world’s poorest people are being pushed deeper into poverty by climate change. It’s a question fossil fuel executives would do well to ask themselves.
“If energy companies are serious about caring for our common home, they need to take the Pope’s advice and hurry up with shifting their priorities – and therefore their money – from fossil fuels to renewables.”
A special Lenten fast prayer
Give up harsh words: use generous ones.
Give up unhappiness: take up gratitude.
Give up anger: take up gentleness and patience.
Give up pessimism: take up hope and optimism.
Give up worrying: take up trust in God.
Give up complaining: value what you have.
Give up stress: take up prayer.
Give up judging others: discover Jesus within them.
Give up sorrow and bitterness: fill your heart with joy.
Give up selfishness: take up compassion for others.
Give up being unforgiving: learn reconciliation.
Give up words: fill yourself with silence, and listen to others.
Anonymous, Latin America
Fast day Prayer
God of love,
Maker of all
Transform my heart
through my Lenten journey
of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Help me to see the dignity
in all my sisters and brothers,
made in your image and likeness.
Inspire me to share
the fruits of your creation
so that all your people
can become artisans
of their own destiny.
Through Christ our Lord
CAFOD dismayed by Sainsbury’s move away from Fairtrade
CAFOD has warned Sainsbury’s not to ditch the Fairtrade mark on their own-brand tea, at the supermarket’s annual meeting.
Campaigners dressed up as tea bags and brought a giant teapot with a message for shareholders at Sainsbury’s. Fairtrade tea empowers farmers and producers in some of the world’s poorest communities. So their message was simple: don’t ditch Fairtrade tea.
While Sainsbury’s has said the ‘Fairly Traded’ scheme it will trial for its tea will operate in a similar way to Fairtrade, small scale producers say they are concerned that they will lose control over how the money made from their goods can be spent.
You can sign the petition here: Fairtrade
PRAYER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT – inspired by “Laudato Si”
have mercy on us,
for the times we forget
that we belong to each other.
You call us to be still,
to hear the whisper of our Sister Wind,
to feel the radiance of our Brother Sun,
and to be nourished by our Mother Earth.
Renew us in your healing love.
Inspire us to water the earth,
and nurture one another,
so all may flourish.
Together, as one family,
may we always sing your praise.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Share the journey
Pope Francis has asked that we respond with compassion and call on governments to protect the human dignity of people on the move. We urge Britain to play a leading role in the forthcoming global compacts on migration and refugees, with other world leaders to develop a united, global response which:
- respects human dignity
- protects the vulnerable
- supports host countries
- keeps families together
- tackles the reasons why people migrate.
Please click here to sign the petition to the Prime Minister.
Harvest Fast Day
CAFOD is an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CAFOD stands beside people living in poverty – whatever their religion or culture. Through local church partners, the Agency helps people directly in their own communities, and campaigns for global justice, so that everyone can reach their full potential. Our parish supports CAFOD and its Connect2 project in el Salvador. We do this in several ways:
- from Lent and Harvest appeals
- donating and selling used books in the church foyer – in 2016 we raised £216
- supporting our parish team running in the Great North Run each September – since 2005 they have raised over £5,000 to support CAFOD and local charities through sponsorship from the parish, families and friends.
Our 2015 team at the finish!
Information and forthcoming events
The Leeds office is situated in Hinsley Hall, Leeds. It provides information on local and national events and how to get involved. See https://cafodleeds.wordpress.com for more details.
CAFOD works with other agencies to call for action on climate change. Its campaign One Climate, One World is calling for politicians to work together to:
- prevent climate change pushing people deeper into poverty
- support the transition from polluting fossil fuels to sustainable energy for all