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Catholic leaders worldwide urge G20 to 'consign fossil fuels to history'

11 October 2021
Europe - Vatican - Priest holding his hands in prayer at St Peter's Basilica

Cardinals, archbishops and heads of religious congregations have called for G20 leaders to stop support for fossil fuels

Senior Catholic leaders have urged world leaders from the G20 group of countries to 'consign fossil fuels to history'.

The plea from more than 70 Church leaders, including cardinals, archbishops and heads of religious congregations, came ahead of the G20 leaders' meeting on 30-31 October.

The call follows a joint statement from Pope Francis and leaders from faith communities worldwide urging negotiators at the COP26 climate talks to agree urgent action to fight the climate crisis.

Church leaders speak out against climate injustice

In the statement, the leaders say:

"The voices from the communities we work with are ringing out. Climate change is a present reality that is affecting our brothers and sisters around the world, particularly those in poor and climate vulnerable communities who have contributed to this issue the least.

"We see increasingly severe and frequent droughts and floods, loss of crops, and destruction of land. We cannot and must not be quiet in the face of such suffering and injustice."

Read the statement in full

“Investments in fossil fuels continue to rise, even though scientists tell us that fossil fuels should remain underground… We continue along old paths because we are trapped by our faulty accounting and by the corruption of vested interests. We still reckon as profit what threatens our very survival.” (Pope Francis, “Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering, And Policy”, Meeting with Finance Ministers from Various Nations, 27 May 2019, Rome)

The voices from the communities we work with are ringing out. Climate change is a present reality that is affecting our brothers and sisters around the world, particularly those in poor and climate vulnerable communities who have contributed to this issue the least. We see increasingly severe and frequent droughts and floods, loss of crops, and destruction of land.

We cannot and must not be quiet in the face of such suffering and injustice.

The science is clear. The world needs to keep fossil fuels in the ground if we are to limit global warming to a below 1.5 degrees temperature rise by the end of 2030.

We therefore call on our governments to use the G20 meetings in October to consign fossil fuels to history by:

  1. Stopping any new developments of coal, oil and gas within our own countries.

  2. Immediately ending all funding of fossil fuels – including coal, oil and gas – abroad.

  3. Massively scaling up investments in clean and safe forms of energy such as wind and solar power, that prioritise energy access for the poorest communities.

  4. Making good on promises to provide climate finance to support communities already affected by the impacts of climate change.

Our moral duty is unquestionable. Advanced economies must act first to tackle climate change and must act quickly to protect current and future generations and our common home. We must face our historic responsibility and act with justice, standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in our own countries and around the world.

We need to act now. We do not have the luxury of time on our side.

Signed by


Archbishop Jorge Lozano - Archbishop of San Juan de Cuyo, Argentina; General Secretary of CELAM (Bishops' Conference of Latin America)

Sr. Patricia McDermott, RSM - President, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Archbishop Andrés Stanovnik OFMCap. - Archbishop of Corrientes, Argentina

Bishop Oscar V. Ojea - Bishop of San Isidro; President, Bishops' Conference of Argentina

Bishop Carlos H. Malfa - Bishop of Chascomús, General Secretary, Bishops' Conference of Argentina

Bishop Gabriel Bernardo Barba - Bishop of San Luis, Argentina

Bishop Oscar Sarlinga - Bishop Emeritus of Zárate-Campana, Argentina

Bishop Carlos José Tissera - Bishop of Quilmes, President, Caritas Argentina

Bishop José María Baliña - Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bishop Jorge Lugones SJ - Bishop of Lomas de Zamora; President, Social Pastoral Commission, Bishops' Conference of Argentina

Bishop Hugo Norberto Santiago - Bishop of San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Buenos Aires

Bishop Fernando C Maletti - Bishop of Merlo-Moreno, Argentina

Bishop César Daniel Fernández - Bishop of Jujuy, Argentina


Bishop Dom Erwin Krautler - Bishop Emeritus of Xingu, Brazil; President, REPAM (Pan Amazonian Church Network) Brazil

Bishop Sebastião LIma Duarte - Bishop of Caxias do Maranhão, Brazil; President, Integral Ecology and Mining Commission, Bishops' Conference of Brazil

Bishop Vicente Ferreira - Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Bishop Cleonir Dal Bosco - Bishop of Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Bishop Edson Damian - Bishop of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas, Brazil

Bishop Vital Corbellini - Bishop of Marabá, Para, Brazil


Sr. Ana Ma. Pacheco R. - Superior General, Guadalupan Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Mexico   


Sr. Brigid Lawlor, RGS - Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ - Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, US

Sr. Corona Colleary - Area Leader, Columban Sisters, US

Sr. Moira Quinn, O.Ss.R. - Prioress, Redemptoristine Nuns of New York, US

Fr. Carl J. Markelz, O. Carm. - Prior Provincial, Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, US


Archbishop Gabriel Justice Anokye - Archbishop of Kumasi, Ghana; President of Caritas Africa

Bishop Sithembele Sipuka - Bishop of Umtata, South Africa; First Vice President, SECAM (Symposium of Bishops' Conferences of Africa and Madagascar)


Archbishop Siegfried Mandla Jwara CMM - Archbishop of Durban, South Africa

Bishop Kevin Dowling C.Ss.R. - Bishop Emeritus of Rustenburg, South Africa

Bishop Jan De Groef, M.Afr. - Bishop of Bethlehem, South Africa

Bishop Duncan Tsoke - Bishop of Kimberley, South Africa

Bishop Edward Risi OMI - Bishop of Keimoes-Upington, South Africa

Bishop Victor Phalana - Bishop of Klerksdorp, South Africa

Bishop Joseph Kizito - Bishop of Aliwal North, South Africa


Fr. Adrianus Suyadi, SJ - Secretary, Social Apostolates of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific


Fr. Fredy Rante Taruk, Pr - Director, Caritas Indonesia - KARINA

Fr. Benedictus Hari Juliawan SJ - Provincial, Indonesian Province of the Society of Jesus


Fr. Paul Moonjely - Executive Director, Caritas India


Sr. Choi Eunsook - Area Leader, Columban Sisters, South Korea


Archbishop Isao Kikuchi, SVD - Archbishop of Tokyo, Japan


Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich - Archbishop of Luxembourg; President of COMECE (Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union)


Archbishop Gianpiero Palmieri - Archbishop of Idassa, Italy

Archbishop Luigi Bressan - Archbishop Emeritus of Trento, Italy

Bishop Claudio Cipolla - Bishop of Padova, Italy

Bishop Francesco Oliva - Bishop of Locri-Gerace, Italy

Bishop Fortunato Morrone - Bishop of Reggio Calabria- Bova, Italy

Bishop Francesco Alfano - Bishop of Sorrento-Castellamare di Stabia, Italy

Bishop Giuseppe Satriano - Bishop of Bari-Bitonto, Italy


Archbishop Stephan Burger - Archbishop of Freiburg, Germany; responsible for MISEREOR

Bishop Dr. Bertram Meier - Bishop of Augsburg, Germany; Chair of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference Commission on International Church Affairs

Bishop Dr. Heiner Wilmer SCJ - Bishop of Hildesheim; Chair of Justitia et Pax Commission, Germany


Bishop John Arnold - Bishop of Salford; Environment Lead, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Bishop William Nolan - Bishop of Galloway, Scotland

Sr. Catherine Lavery - Provincial, Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, Britain and Ireland

Fr. Damian Howard SJ - Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain

Sr. Anne Marie Smith - Area Leader, Columban Sisters, UK

Fr. Colm M. McGlynn OSM - Prior Provincial, Servite Friars, Province of the Isles


Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv - Bishop of Parramatta, Australia; Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service

Sr. Monica Cavanagh RSJ - Congregation Leader, Sisters of Saint Joseph, Australia

Br Peter Carroll FMS - President, Catholic Religious Australia

Anne Walker - National Executive Director, Catholic Religious Australia

Sr. Mary Barbuto NDS - Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion, Australia Regions Leader

Sr. Melissa Dwyer FdCC - Delegation Leader, Canossian Daughters of Charity, Australia

Sr. Brenda Kennedy CHF - Sisters of the Hoy Faith, Australia

Sr. Philippa Murphy FDNSC - Provincial Leader, Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Australia

Sr. Margaret Barclay PBVM - Congregation Leader, Presentation Sisters, Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia

Sr. Eveline Crotty RSM - Institute Leader, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea

Fr Paul Cahill, O.Carm - Provincial, Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste

Sr. Lucy van Kessel - Congregation Leader, Presentation Sisters, Western Australia

Sr. Catherine Lacey SM - Unit Leader, Marist Sisters, Australia

Sr. Catherine McCahill SGS - Council Member, Sisters of the Good Samaritan, Australia, Japan, Philippines and Kiribati

Sr. Mary-Louise Petro RSM - Congregation Leader, Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta, NSW Australia

Sr. Kathleen Cotterill - Region Leader, Little Company of Mary Sisters, Region of the Southern Cross (Australia ,New Zealand and Tonga)

Fr Peter O’Neill - Missionary Society of St Columban, Australia


Sr. Hyesook Susanna Choi - Congregational Leader, Columban Sisters, International

Bishop Marc Stenger - Bishop Emeritus of Troyes, France; Co-President, Pax Christi International

Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira - Co-President, Pax Christi International

Sr. Catherine O'Connor, CSB - Congregational Leader, The Sisters of St. Brigid, Australia

Tomas Insua - Executive Director, Laudato Si Movement