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Secular Franciscan Order and S.O.S. Adriatic against oil drilling!

*The Pope calls for urgent action : The climate crisis is a question of social justice*


The Franciscan Secular Order and the S.O.S. Adriatic coalition held a joint press conference on June 19th 2015 in Zagreb where they presented the conclusions of the encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for urgent action to combat climate change, and sent a message to the Croatian Government to withdraw from the harmful project of exploration and exploitation of oil in the Adriatic Sea.

In the encyclical on the environment and climate change, called “Laudato si – praised be, about the care for common home”, which was released on June 18th, the Pope Francis refers to the scientific reports which show that most of the global warming over the past few decades was due to high concentrations of greenhouse gases, mainly due to human activity. Pope stresses that it is caused by the development model based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which are at the heart of the global energy system.

This is the 2nd encyclical ever issued for the whole humanity, not only the Catholics and Christians – the first being regarding proliferation of the nuclear weapons during the Cuban crisis of the cold war – which shows that Pope considers climate change as dangerous to humanity and life on the Earth as a global nuclear war.

“The main focus of the encyclical is on the need for a change of the moral compass of humanity and the relationship between rich and poor communities and countries, and therefore the Pope refers to the climate as a common good. Unlike the previous encyclical “Lumen Fidei”, the Pope has directed this encyclical at all people regardless of religion because climate change is a global problem with serious environmental, social, economical and political implications and is a major challenge for humanity. The most serious consequences in the coming decades will be felt by the poor people in developing countries. The possible extraction of oil from the Adriatic seabed could contribute to the suffering of the poor in the future, so it is our moral responsibility to prevent new exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels,” said Zoran Milic of the Secular Franciscan Order, who supports the S.O.S. Adriatic campaign.

Pope’s encyclical puts great emphasis on climate justice because of the large social inequalities in the world and points out that poor people in developing countries do not have the economic opportunity or resources that would allow them to adapt to climate impacts or to cope with disaster situations. Because of the degradation of the environment, more and more migrants are not recognized as refugees by international conventions. The Pope points out that progress in the fight against climate change is slow because the most powerful and richest countries, those who are the greatest polluters, are concealing the real problems.

“The Pope describes drawing extra-profits as a “conceptual problem of the economy” that does not take into account the long-term damage to the environment. Such practices can be seen in Croatia, where the Government plans to sign contracts with six companies for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic Sea. Due to questionable short-term profit and interests of corporations, the government ignores the voice of local communities and communities in poor countries that already suffer serious consequences of climate change,” said Luka Tomac from Zelena akcija/FOE Croatia.

“This encyclical is giving impetus to the global environmental movement because the Pope does not only emphasize and recognise that the environmental movement is a force that promotes the sustainability of the planet, but he calls for a global cultural revolution that will lead to global environmental citizenship, eradicate poverty, strengthen democracy and participatory decision making, and will lead to the redesign of the economy with the aim of sustainability and increased employment. These policies are exactly what Friends of the Earth International has been advocating for many years, “said Jagoda Munic, Chairperson of the global network Friends of the Earth International.

In this Encyclical Pope underlines the urgent need to develop effective policies so that in the coming years carbon dioxide emissions and other highly polluting gases are drastically reduced, for example by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

“Croatian politicians must abandon investment in dirty energy projects, turn to energy efficiency and the great potential of renewable energy sources that should be community owned. The age of fossil fuels is gone. It’s time to turn to the future, and that is the energy mix of renewable energy sources – solar and wind. The development of this technology in Croatia would contribute to the increase in employment,” said Marko Gregović from Greenpeace Croatia.

In his Encyclical the Pope concludes that the continued use of fossil fuels and the destruction of ecosystems have “grave consequences for all of us”, especially for the poorest. He calls for a change in lifestyle and energy consumption as well as for urgent action against climate change in order to avoid the “outrageous destruction of the eco-system” before the end of this century.

**The full encyclical can be found here.