The Catholic Church in Asia, in harmony with Laudato Sì, is choosing renewable energy in an effort to help deal with climate change. The Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Asia, met recently in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh to discuss the issue.
"Promoting renewable energy in every parish, Catholic community and institute, in Asia and all over the world, is a matter of discernment, it is a crucial choice," said Father Charles Irudayam, former Secretary of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Indian Bishops' Conference who attended the meeting. He one of 40 participants (bishops, priests and laity), representing 11 Asian countries, organized by the Office for Human Development (OHD) of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
Fr Irudayam pointed out: "According to a report published in August 2018 by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Asia represents almost two-thirds of the increase in the capacity to generate renewable energy, on a global scale. With the development of Asian economies, the demand for energy is increasing. The governments of various Asian nations have focused their attention on renewable energies: wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal and hydroelectric, due to concerns about security of supply, to price volatility and environmental issues."
"It should be remembered that solar and wind energy - reliable forms of energy to generate electricity, that do not contribute to climate change or air pollution - are now cheaper than coal throughout Asia," noted the priest.
"The argument that coal is the fastest or safest route to development is no longer working, seeing the harmful consequences: we need to consider the costs involved in treating patients with respiratory problems, to rebuild cities after the most intense floods, to feed farmers whose crops fail due to severe droughts, all the consequences related to the use of fossil fuels."
"The countries of Asia must move quickly from fossil fuels to clean energy, and the Catholic Church offers its contribution to this cultural and practical change", said Fr Irudayam.
The governments of Asian countries "need a change of financial paradigm and systematic and concerted efforts for an integral ecology, putting human dignity and the care of our common home at the centre of politics. It is a big challenge to face, but also an opportunity to grasp with courage," he said. "We are all called to promote renewable energy options in the Asian context."
"The Episcopal Conferences in Asia have initiated commissions for integral ecology as a response to the appeal of Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Sì, published in 2015, in which the Pope exhorts all people of good will to take care of creation", said the priest.
He concluded: "The Catholic Church in Asia is aware of the importance and urgency of responding to the challenges of environmental protection and is trying to undertake a new path for the care and protection of creation."