U.S. government’s move contravenes decades of papal leadership
On Thursday, the U.S. government announced that it was opening coastal waters to drilling for fossil fuels This announcement is contrary to Catholic teaching, which encourages protection of creation and the people who share it, vulnerable people above all.
Expert analysis shows that there are approximately five times more fossil fuel deposits in the ground than can be burned to keep climate change below the catastrophic level.
Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said “Oil industry leaders are saying that coastal lands belong to U.S. taxpayers. Which taxpayers? Surely not just the titans of dirty energy. These lands also belong to those who suffer respiratory diseases that global warming makes worse. They belong to people in coastal states who are at risk of oil spills. And they belong to our children and grandchildren, who will inherit a warmer, dirtier, more dangerous world.”
Insua continued, “This expansion of territory for the titans of dirty energy is a step away from the cleaner, safer, more just world that Catholics hope for.”
Catholic teaching strongly encourages an urgent transition to clean energy. This teaching began with Pope John Paul II, who as early as 1990 said that the greenhouse effect had “reached crisis proportions.” His successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, asked “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change?” The current pope, Pope Francis, has said that “the use of highly polluting fossil fuels . . . needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”
Global Catholic Climate Movement is a community of hundreds of thousands of Catholics and a global network of 650+ member organizations responding to Pope Francis’ call to action in the Laudato Si’ encyclical.