CAPE TOWN, South Africa (September 11, 2019) – Living Laudato Si Philippines stands in solidarity with the delegates of “Financing the Future”, a global conference currently held in Cape Town, South Africa, in their common call for divestment from fossil fuels. We join the divest-invest movement in demanding an urgent yet just transition of finance flows away from fossil fuels and into genuine climate solutions.
We emphasize that the worst impacts of the climate crisis would be experienced in the Global South, wherein millions of people are also living under poverty. To compound potential impacts, this region is also where the fossil fuel industry is attempting to be the engine of economic growth, which is both unsustainable and non-inclusive. There is no true development if only the few benefits and the rest suffers from their greed and ignorance.
Currently, over USD 11 trillion worth of assets have now been pledged to be divested from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. More than 1,000 investors have committed to the divestment of assets representing around 16 percent of the global equity markets last year. These investors include insurance firms, universities, religious organizations, and city councils from both industrialized nations and developing countries. The rapid increase in divestments over the past five years shows the growing recognition by multiple sectors of the urgency to shift away from dirty energy and invest instead into a more sustainable, just future.
We also commend the 140 Catholic institutions that have publicly pledged to divest from fossil fuels. We laud institutions in the Philippines, including the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Caritas Philippines, Environmental Science for Social Change and the Diocese of San Carlos, for showing to other local faith-based organizations that a financial future free from fossil fuels is possible. (See full list here of Catholic insitutions that have committed to divest fully or partially from fossil fuels.)
While this is a step in the right direction, it is far from our common goal of genuine sustainable development. More than 900 Catholic institutions, including those from the Philippines, has yet to invest away from fossil fuels. Their commitment to a renewable-powered present and future will not only address the threats to shareholder values, but also contribute in saving our planet from the point where the climate crisis would become fully irreversible. Following the core messages of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, which highlights the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change and states our moral responsibility to care for our common home and all life in it, we call on our Catholic communities and institutions to take urgent actions.
Thus, we are reminded by the message of CBCP in urgently calling for the ‘ecological conversion’ of all people, regardless of religion, as a response to the climate crisis. It is very clear that the Filipino Catholic community is called to “not allow the financial resources of our Catholic institutions to be invested in favor of coal-fired power plants, mining companies and other destructive extractive projects. Divestment from such investment portfolios must be encouraged.”
We demand that governments and businesses “push for an immediate transition to safe, clean, and affordable energy” through stopping all fossil fuel-related operations and developing the country’s renewable energy sources immediately. This is not just to stop the impacts of climate change from getting worse, but also reduce or even eliminate the drivers of poverty and inequality that lead to the suffering of millions.
Indeed, we need to DIVEST FOR SUSTAINABILITY and INVEST IN OUR COMMON HOME.
Living Laudato Si Philippines, a member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), attended the Financing the Future: The Global Divest-Invest Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, which gathered about 300 delegates from all over the world. The summit showcases how the Divest Invest movement can and is accelerating the clean energy transition by mobilizing capital out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions. For more information, please visit https://financingthefuture.global/about/