A think-tank on renewable energy on Thursday lauded the decision of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to divest from “dirty energy” sources such as coal.
“The moral leadership of the Church lends great weight to our cause for a coal-free Philippines. No amount of short-term profit justifies the long-term compromise of the health of our people and the Earth’s climate,” said Gerry Arances, executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED).
The statement came a day after the CBCP announced on Wednesday their decision, made as the bishops gathered for their plenary assembly, to pull out their funds from “dirty energy.”
The episcopal body instead encouraged bishops to put more investments in food, microfinance, transportation, manufacturing, banking and renewable energy sources.
The CEED noted that the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, yet it is also one of the few countries in the world where investments in coal continue to rise.
The CBCP is the most recent institution of the Catholic Church to move away from coal and other fossil fuels.
In 2015, the Vatican published Laudato si’ (Praise Be to You), Pope Francis’ encyclical subtitled “On care for a common home,” which stated that the warming of the planet is a symptom of the world pursuing short-term economic gains at the expense of harming the planet.
The bishops of Belgium, Ireland, and Australia have preceded the CBCP in these divestments, along with 120 other Catholic institutions around the world.
“My hope is that this is the beginning of a trend where all investors will reject coal and other fossil fuels, choosing the Earth over their pockets,” said Arances.