Catholic divestment from fossil fuels: a snapshot

Hundreds of Catholic organisations have divested billions of dollars or euros from the primary contributing industries to climate change: oil, gas, and coal. Here are some powerful insights on Catholics’ inspirational commitment to divestment from fossil fuels.



The Years Project, an important climate change, multimedia communication endeavour, highlights the inspirational action taking by Catholic organisations around the world




Dr. Lorna Gold shares insights from the movement to divest the Catholic Church in Ireland from fossil fuels.


A 'prophetic' decision

In the above video, Gold describes the decision to divest as prophetic, as a way of drawing attention to injustice and the plights of the poor:

"We have seen firsthand in our work overseas that this is not something in the future. Climate change is already affecting people…it affects livelihoods, the number of rapid-onset emergencies. It affects those who are already facing many challenges in their lives. It’s the ultimate threat amplifier" – Gold

Gold explains that the ecological crisis demands radical change, both from the “grassroots to the grasstops”. This involves overcoming apathy and ignorance and changing the narrative around climate change.

Politics, universities, and the Church

She points to three institutions that are critical for the divestment movement: politics, universities, and the Church.

Especially for faith-based institutions, the decision to divest requires persistence and initiative: along with her colleagues, Gold began a Laudato Si' working group in partnership with the local Bishops Conference.

It also requires a kind of organisational savviness – the group learned that the finance committee was the most important group to “win over'. On the journey, the group learned that offering practical steps forward, sharing knowledge across silos, generating momentum, and having the courage to be bold are critical for successful divestment in the context of the Church.

As she states, “Fossil fuel divestment is not an end in itself. It’s very technical in some respects, but it only happens in a faith-based context when you enable the ecological conversion of the leadership.”

“They are not going to divest if they don’t understand.”