CV NEWS FEED // Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego called for divestment from oil companies during this week’s assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
McElroy criticized a document draft on social spending by the Church, saying that it was “weak” on fossil fuels and should have included language about divesting from oil in order to slow climate change.
The document was meant to limit Church funding and investments in institutions and corporations that offend against “human dignity.”
“During the first day of public meetings the bishops also considered new socially responsible investment guidelines,” reported Carol Zimmerman of Catholic News Service. “A draft document of guidelines governing the USCCB’s financial investments includes wider limits on where money would be invested and advances a policy of engagement on corporate practices that impact human dignity.”
McElroy “questioned why there was little mention of fossil fuels in the document, describing the section as being ‘weak,’ given that the Vatican and Pope Francis have encouraged divestment from such energy sources as needed to slow climate change,” Zimmerman reported:
He said that fossil fuel investments were extensively discussed by the working group that prepared the guidelines. The group decided, he said, “it’s not possible now to achieve a complete end” to fossil fuel investment and determined it was best to give financial advisers working with the USCCB “room” to determine which investments were appropriate.
As CatholicVote reported in October, Uganda President Yoweri K. Museveni has rejected the Western push for dropping traditional fuels in the name of fighting climate change, arguing that the policies “force poverty on Africa” and tend to endanger the safety and wellbeing of the poorest of the poor.
Author Michael Shellenberger has written extensively on the effects of climate change policy on the poor. Sharing a recent report out of Brazil, he commented: “Greta Thunberg said ‘I want you to panic’ and nations did. They over-invested in unreliable weather-dependent energy sources & under-invested in reliable energy. Now, global energy shortages are forcing the poor to choose between food & electricity.”
In the United States meanwhile, rising gas prices have become a major public concern, while Biden administration officials suggest gas could rise to as high as four dollars a gallon.
Despite this, President Joe Biden has maintained a position of radical commitment to climate change policies that include phasing out oil production, like the canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline and investing heavily in electric and solar energy in the Build Back Better plan.