The Guardian reports: The Vatican may consider, but is not committed to, divesting its holdings in fossil fuels, a Catholic church official has said, despite Pope Francis’s call for bold action to fight climate change and global warming.
The statement – made at a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the pope’s recently released encyclical on the environment – is likely to disappoint climate activists, who have praised Pope Francis’s essay stressing that climate change is mostly a man-made problem.
“I think that the Vatican bank may think of initiatives which are at the core of this change. So we will see in the future … it [divestment] may be considered by the Vatican,” said Flaminia Giovanelli, a lay woman who serves on the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice.
The hesitancy to act may reflect internal divisions about whether investment decisions by the Institute for Religious Works (IOR)– the official name of the Vatican bank – which has about €6bn (£4.25bn) under management, ought to reflect Pope Francis’s values, particularly ones that might still be considered contentious within the church’s hierarchy.
George Pell, the Australian cardinal who serves as the pope’s chief economic minister, is known to be a climate-change denier. In a speech in 2011, he said that “evidence” that had led the scientific community to conclude that the earth is warming was “insufficient to achieve practical certainty on many of these scientific issues”.
Naomi Klein, the Canadian climate activist and author who recently joined forces with the Vatican on the issue of climate change and is in Rome for a two-day conference on the encyclical, said she believed that a possible divestment policy was under discussion. [Continue reading…]