Laudato Si 165: Fossil Fuels

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

165. We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.

Business interests attached to coal, oil, and gas resist. But the truth is that in a thousand years, these products of ancient plants will be largely gone. These resources have given human beings a lift up into the age of industry and beyond. By the end of the third millennium, we will have water, air, sunlight, and the atom. Or wood and manure for fuel. When one can view the end of one’s road, it is time to ponder plans for the next direction.

This is a moral issue:

Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions. But the international community has still not reached adequate agreements about the responsibility for paying the costs of this energy transition. In recent decades, environmental issues have given rise to considerable public debate and have elicited a variety of committed and generous civic responses. Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world. Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.

To do this, we will have to understand the distinction of dialogue from debate, and move in that direction.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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