Columbans Celebrate Paris Agreement and Announce Pledge to Divest from Fossil Fuels

October 5, 2016

Contact: Jenny Labbadia, Communications and Outreach Associate

Office: 202-635-5812 Email: jlabbadia@columban.org

Washington, DC- On October 4, the European Union voted to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, officially paving the way for the historic agreement to go into effect. With the EU’s approval, it crossed the threshold of 55 nations accounting for 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Columbans around the world celebrate this momentous step on the part of many nations, including the United States, China, India and the EU, to bring the world one step closer to implementing this crucial agreement in a global effort to protect the planet.

Columbans serve the poor and vulnerable affected by climate change around the world and, as a result, have been at the forefront of addressing this crisis. Renowned eco-theologian, Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh, recently attended a Joint Consultation on “‘Laudato Si’ and the Path to COP 22” organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences. The conference released a statement emphasizing the importance of strong implementation. They wrote, “We urge all the signatories of the Paris Agreement to move forward together with determination, urgency, shared values and a common global plan.”

As Pope Francis has made clear, our response to the climate crisis must be prophetic if we are to protect the planet for present and future generations. Columbans applaud this step and commit to holding the nations of the world accountable to robustly implementing the agreement.

In this spirit, Columbans also commit to furthering our call to care for creation. On Monday, October 4, the Missionary Society of St. Columban announced its pledge to take steps to divest from fossil fuels.

“From moral, environmental and financial perspectives, fossil fuels are not the way forward. Over the next five years, the Missionary Society of St Columban will begin divesting away from fossil fuels, as well as putting resources into Positive Impact Investing alternatives. This is a concrete step we can take as missionaries to demonstrate our commitment to the care of and respect for the earth as well as faithful stewardship of the goods entrusted to us.”

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The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach is the advocacy office for the Missionary Society of St. Columban. The Center serves as the line of communication between Columban missionaries serving in 15 countries around the world and policy makers in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to work towards a more just, peaceful, and environmentally sustainable world by engaging in the political process guided by our Catholic faith and the Gospel.