The 26 September 2023 IEA net zero road map report resonates deeply with the prayers of the faithful for world leaders to adopt the teachings of Pope Francis during the #SeasonofCreation.
The report urges global leaders to prioritise the rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, stating that no new investment in new fossil fuel projects is needed. This is a matter of ecological responsibility, meeting net-zero emission targets and staying within the 1.5-degree limit set by the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, governments have fallen short in curbing fossil fuel pollution and production since 2021.
The IEA recommends removing money from fossil fuels projects and tripling global investment in renewables from USD 1.8 trillion in 2023 to USD 4.5 trillion by 2030. Faith communities are already taking action. Many have already divested from fossil fuels and denounced financial institutions that continue to fund new fossil infrastructure. Over 300 religious institutions have divested approximately $18 billion from the fossil fuel industry. People of faith must continue to lead the way in energy transitions.
But much more can still be done. Pope Francis has repeatedly called for a swift and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels. The IEA has reinforced this message by charging Northern economies to reduce CO2 emissions faster by 2030, creating a more just path for Global South countries as they transition away from coal, which is heavily relied upon in emerging and developing economies. Regional Catholic networks like CELAM have adopted positions calling for a just energy transition. Catholic leaders in Asia have also joined the call for a just transition to renewable energy by singing the FFNPT letter.
In case there were still messages from scientists pushing an alternative narrative, the IEA is clear: carbon capture and storage is not a viable solution, and the focus must be on preventing carbon emissions in the first place.
As we approach COP28, the message from Pope Francis in Laudato Si resounds: the time to save our common home by ending all investment in fossil fuels is now. We must heed this call and work together to create a sustainable and just future for all. Let us join the #PrayingForYou campaign to call on world leaders to phase out fossil fuels as directed by the IEA and Pope Francis.