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Bishop William Crean, Chairperson of Trócaire, has announced today that the Irish Bishops’ Conference has signed the global Catholic fossil free pledge, and today begins the process of divesting its resources from all fossil fuels.
“As chairman of Trócaire, I am delighted to make today’s announcement. Trócaire is to the fore in terms of tackling the disruption that climate change is already causing to our living environment. Over the past decade we have seen more intense storms, devastating floods, prolonged droughts and higher temperatures”.
“The impact in terms of human suffering to families is devastating. Climate change is already leading to forced migration, separation of families and increased pressure on resources. Girls and women are often in the front line of this added burden”.
“Avoiding further climate change and protecting our common home requires a major change in direction, as Pope Francis outlines in Laudato Sí. In particular, it requires a major shift in our energy and investment policies away from highly polluting fossil fuels towards cleaner renewable energy“.
Today’s announcement follows a number of significant decisions in Ireland around fossil fuel divestment. Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University and The National University of Ireland, Galway, have made similar commitments.
This June Dáil Éireann passed a landmark divestment bill which, if passed through the Seanad, will see the country become the first to fully divest its sovereign wealth fund from all fossil fuels. In May the Church of Ireland General Synod made a decision to divest its resources from fossil fuels.
Globally, there is a growing number of Catholic organisations committed to divestment. They include Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-affiliated humanitarian assistance organisation, Catholic banks with €7.5 billion on their balance sheets, and dozens of religious orders and lay movements. 95 Catholic organisations, including six Irish Religious Congregations, have made divestment commitments to date.
Bishop Crean has said that today’s announcement “whilst modest in terms of financial resources, is more than just symbolic. It is about joining the growing social movement, led by young people across the world, calling for the realignment of our financial policies to safeguard their future. It makes good sense and it is the least that we can offer our future generations.
“Together with our brothers and sisters in the Church of Ireland, and with many Religious Congregations in Ireland that have already divested, we now call on all faith organisations at home and abroad to consider joining the global divestment movement”.
Trócaire Executive Director Eamonn Meehan has welcomed the decision by the Bishops’ Conference, saying that “this is a very welcome announcement, and a concrete step towards a future that is fossil-free. It shows the growing strength of the global divestment movement, in response to the devastating impact of climate change. We must do all we can to prevent climate change from reversing the decades of progress made in reducing poverty worldwide”.