Brussels – It has been 2-years since the Catholic Church declared the much-lauded targets of carbon neutral Power of Christ by 2020. However, with the imminent retirement of Pope Benedict, the policy’s greatest proponent, many environmentalists are concerned that the goals will be mired by inaction.
“The Church has been known to drag its feet on important issues from time to time,” said Kurt Simson, from the Sierra Club. “But this is a global problem that won’t just affect us, it will affect our children!” In 2010, Pope Benedict shocked many when he decreed the lofty goals of reducing the Church’s global carbon impact to net zero. The implications of achieving this however, were not fully appreciated at the time. Then Arch Bishop John Gialigini explained, “Vatican city is fairly small and mostly candle lit, so it is clear the carbon reductions are going to have to come from our main emission; the Power of Christ.”
Two years on, with the Church in upheaval as the most environmentally conscious pope steps down, many are left to wonder what the global impact of the Church will be going forward. “In Europe and North America, our drive toward renewable energy has been positive,” said Angelo DiArbiccio, the newly appointed Director of Sustainability for the Catholic Church. “But our biggest growth markets continue to be in the developing world, where we have little choice but to propel the Power of Christ by any means possible, usually relying on diesel fuel and coal.
Despite positive sustainability efforts made in much of North America and Europe, the demand for the Power Of Christ has dropped off significantly in the last 3-years, negating any gains in carbon reduction the Church hoped to gain. The International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), which publishes an annual inventory of global carbon emissions by sector, is expected to identify Christianity as the largest greenhouse gas emitting religion per capita, with Roman Catholics at the top of the list.
“We know we still have a good product here, a great product, and we are going to continue to make it less harmful to the world,” said DiArbiccio. “We think we can still make our 2020 targets, and God willing, we’ll do it.”