South Korea: Churches commit to carbon neutrality

The Catholic community in South Korea is committing to meet “zero net emissions” targets in the spirit of Laudato si’.

Jun 05, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A man riding a bicycle across a coal power plant in Shanghai. Coal consumption releases deadly levels of air pollution. (AFP or licensors)

By Zeus Legaspi
Churches in South Korea are committing to the task of “carbon neutrality”, following reports of worsening climate hazards across the globe.

The Commission for the Environment and Ecology of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea will hold a conference on 5 June where all dioceses and parishes will be shown a path to reach “zero net emissions,” according to the Vatican's Fides news agency.

During the conference, Father Cho Hyeon-Cheol SJ, a professor at Sogang University, will give a talk on “Church’s carbon neutrality for ecological repentance,” which would revolve around one of the messages of Laudato si’ that humans have been the drivers of climate change and some form of “ecological repentance” is necessary to start over and move towards a society that is more respectful of Creation.

Renewable energy will also be discussed. The Commission believes that carbon neutrality can be achieved through the production of wind energy – prompting an analysis of the possibility of an energy conversion movement in the city of Incheon.

Laudato si’
In his encyclical, Laudato si’, Pope Francis said that having a healthy relationship with Creation entails “recognition of our errors and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change.”

In Laudato si’, Pope Francis also urged the world to do away with the use of “highly polluting” fossil fuels which have been one of the most polluting industries in the world. The World Nuclear Association said that as of last year, burning fossil fuels released up to 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually.

In 2020, South Korea announced an investment plan of about 7.1 billion dollars in “Green New Deal” projects which include the construction of renewable agency plants.

That same year, the state also announced that it intends to become a carbon-neutral nation by 2050. But at present, coal still accounts for some 40% of the state’s energy while renewable energies share less than 6%.--Vatican News

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