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posted by CoolHand on Friday October 06 2017, @12:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the eco-pope dept.

More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

The sum involved has not been disclosed but the volume of divesting groups is four times higher than a previous church record, and adds to a global divestment movement, led by investors worth $5.5tn.

[...] Assisi's mayor, Stefania Proietti – a former climate mitigation professor – told the Guardian: "When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change.

"When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice. But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor."

Are they putting their money where their mouth is, or making a smart economic bet?


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by fritsd on Friday October 06 2017, @05:01PM (1 child)

    by fritsd (4586) on Friday October 06 2017, @05:01PM (#578125) Journal

    The opposite of "sustainable" is "not sustainable".
    There's no other way to put this.

    The Roman Catholic Church is a very conservative institute, i.e. they'd like things to stay as they are.
    The expression "as they are" depends on the time stretch that you use to define it.
    The 100-150 years of the Age of Petroleum, is just a blip on the radar for them. That's not "as it is" but "as it is NOW".
    But Global Warming provides an existential threat to humankind and must be countered.
    If agriculture fails because it is sometimes a bit too warm a bit too long, then we're really fucked.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 07 2017, @09:39AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07 2017, @09:39AM (#578519) Journal

    But Global Warming provides an existential threat to humankind and must be countered. If agriculture fails because it is sometimes a bit too warm a bit too long, then we're really fucked.

    Bullshit. There are several things to note here. No actual research has show an existential threat to humankind. Sure, if we continue to burn hydrocarbons for a few thousand years, we might reach a state like in some of the past mass extinctions, where large numbers of humans are difficult to support. But that still doesn't rule out smaller numbers of humans.

    Second, the world is not one single temperature. It's not magic to grow a crop a little further north, should that be necessary to keep it within a desirable temperature range. In this way, agricultural failures are averted even in cases of serious global warming.

    Third, all the threats of global warming are significantly overrated and adaptation completely ignored. If life sucks where you are, say like because there's a meter of water in the living room, then you can always move, a very simple solution that gets ignored except when someone wants to overplay it (say to gin up the threat of the worst refugee crisis ever). Worst threats like habitat and arable land destruction, poverty, overpopulation, etc get massively downplayed and a number of the would-be mitigation fixes for global warming often make these bigger problems worse.

    Finally, this has all the hallmarks of a scam from the games played with the science to rushing the decision-making process. For example, there's repeated [nature.com] research [nature.com] backtracking [ipcc.ch] (fig 9.8) now on the most important parameter in climatology today, the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of CO2. The IPCC claimed it was likely to be 3 C per doubling, but the current warming is consistent with 2 C per doubling or lower (for example, from the first paper, I calculated this parameter as 1.75 C per doubling, using their claims for restrictions on CO2 emissions to keep long term CO2 emissions below 1.5 C total increase).

    That backtracking coincides with a sudden claim (which is reflected in the paper) that we need to keep warming below a rise of 1.5 C (above pre-industrial era). This aggressive limit means that we buy about 20 years (as stated in the paper). But if we went to the old 2 C limit, then we buy about 50 additional years over the predictions. It gets far worse, if we hold the limit at a much more slack limit, such as 4 C. Then it's something like two centuries of current rates of emissions that we can emit and still stay under the temperature cap. For reference, the current rise since pre-industrial Earth is about 0.9 C increase.

    Notice how that works. We don't have any evidence for serious problems from global warming in the near future, but the current narrative is that we need to act now to hold temperatures to a very aggressive cap a little above present. If that cap is raised even a little, we suddenly buy at least half a century before we need to act. In other words, there's no reason for this cap except to force us to act now.

    So sure, if you want to believe that the existence of humanity is threatened by a slightly rise in temperature accompanied by a fraction of a meter rise in sea levels and farmers possibly being forced to plant crops that are currently viable a couple hundred km further south, nobody's stopping you. But maybe you ought to think about the games being played here and shape your beliefs on a rational basis?