Pope Francis Wants Us To Give Up on Fossil Fuels, Says Now's the Time for Eco-Conversion

Pope Francis Signing a Lamborghini Huracan Donated by the Italian Automaker 9 photos
Photo: Newsy on YouTube
Pope Francis Imagined in a Fisker2021 Skoda Enyaq iV Pope Francis2021 Skoda Enyaq iV Pope FrancisCongo's BasinDrilling RigDrilling Rig at NightDrilling RigInside an Ohio Coal Mine
Pope Francis involved himself in many worldwide issues and has often been heard calling for peace, fairness, and prosperity for everyone. He’s also known for having bold stances on environmental issues. But now, the Pontiff wants companies and entrepreneurs to focus more on sustainability and has called for the global abandonment of fossil fuels such as gas, diesel, coal, natural gas, and many other non-renewable wastes. Here’s what His Holiness had to say.
Back in 2019, Pope Francis intended to give young people who are ready to transform the economy a place to speak their minds, meet others with similar interests, and discuss various opportunities for a fossil fuel-free future. To turn this into reality, the Pontiff supported the creation of the Economy of Francesco (EoF). The name given to this event isn’t related to the Pope but to the Saint Francis of Assisi – the spiritual patron of the Italian city with the same name.

At the 2022 edition of EoF, young minds from various parts of the globe met in Italy to discuss environmental-related issues, achievements, and proposals. After listening to everyone, the Pope took the microphone and said some interesting things.

The Pontiff argued that the economy should be taken back to its roots, “to the work done by human beings.” This remark comes in contradiction with the industrial trend that replaces people with robots. But it is a valid statement – the more fairly-paid employees there are, the more money individuals and families will have.

A greener future

But the most interesting part of the Pope’s statement revolves around the need to ditch fossil fuels. His Holiness said that the world should abandon polluters and concentrate on making energy that has no impact on the environment.

2021 Skoda Enyaq iV Pope Francis
Photo: Skoda
He also argued in favor of moving forward with “an ecological conversion” that should make businesses and people cut down on their carbon footprint and recycle more.

The Pope also admitted that his generation created a rich heritage for today’s youth, but they did not know how “to protect the planet and secure peace.”

But is the Pope right? Should we ditch fossil fuels for good? Let’s find out.

Fossil fuels are bad, but we must not forget their role

Our world has been powered by fossil fuels for over a century, but the first time someone used coal as a source of energy can be dated back to over 4,000 years ago. People living in the area that’s China today noticed the black like-rock thing that burned easily and started using it. Some archaeologists even claim that cavemen used coal for heating without knowing what exactly it was. But during the 1200s, coal usage spread to Europe and other parts of the world.

However, people kept using coal to ease the process of making things out of metals. That is until the industrial revolution came around and the steam engine was created by James Watt. After the 1700s, coal remained an important resource for the British and helped them develop into an enormous empire.

Inside an Ohio Coal Mine
Photo: TheColumbusDispatch on YouTube
The U.S. used coal as well. Americans made steel manufacturing easier thanks to coal and powered steam engines with it. But the first time coal was used for electricity can be dated back to the 1880s, according to a study published by the Department of Energy.

Coal isn’t the only fossil fuel we continue to use even today. Gas, natural gas, crude oil, kerosene, petroleum derivatives, and others like them are what made some countries more powerful and transformed our world. But coal was always at the epicenter of many health issues for humans. Burning coal leads to severe air pollution and has been known to cause heart problems, brain damage, asthma, and even cancer.

Giving up on gas won’t be easy

Similarly, oil and its byproducts have caused many global concerns. On the one hand, producers and refiners have one of the largest carbon footprints worldwide and have been involved in catastrophic natural accidents like Kolva River Spill or the Atlantic Empress Spill when millions of gallons of oil have been into oceans. Most recently, whistleblowers revealed that “bilge dumping” is often happening in the seafaring industry, and toxic liquids are released into the world’s oceans by virtually any diesel-powered vessel.

On the other hand, gas, diesel, kerosene, and other oil byproducts keep us moving and our economies going. We rely heavily on having enough gallons of refined oil, and the best proof comes from this year’s problems – the current U.S. administration was forced to release millions of barrels from the strategic reserve to keep inflation from spiraling out of control.

Drilling Rig
Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk called twice on the governments to make sure oil prices aren’t going to be artificially increased by decreasing output.

And, on top of all this, automakers like Porsche or Mazda have been noticed on multiple occasions saying that internal combustion engine bans aren’t the right way to move forward. Now, with the price of electricity going up and an unstable international landscape, we can understand why the transition to greener sources of energy can’t happen at once. It’s impossible to do it without hurting many people in the process.

But we must move forward. Battery and fuel cell electric vehicles are the future. Transportation will have to be revamped and it must be among the first things that change because it accounts for 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In the EU, the European Environment Agency says road transport is responsible for 72% of the total transport greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, the Pope wants us to slowly give up on them all while the young build a new and healthy economy. Will EVs and renewable energy play a major role in this transition? We’ll see. What’s certain now is that a major change awaits us. If it’s going to be for the better, well… That’s up to everyone!

At the end of the day, Pope Francis is right – we must focus on a new, more sustainable, and fossil fuel-free economy. But in doing so, we must not forget who will be hurt by these changes.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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