The Catholic Church in Asia is the latest organisation to commit to a more sustainable future by choosing renewable energy sources in a bid to support a cleaner economy. At a conference in Bangladesh, the forty attendees represented eleven countries. Together they reviewed a report produced last year by the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The report showed that the Asian markets represented nearly 66% of the growth in renewable energy capacity. Combined with this rapid growth, the demand for energy was growing in Asia, and the churches recognised that governments were also committing to the development of renewables in order to create a cleaner economy, tackle climate change, avoid price volatility and ensure energy security of supply.
The technologies in focus across Asia include solar, wind, geothermal, bioelectricity and hydroelectricity. Already, wind and solar produce cheaper energy than coal. The conference discussed the need to consider the costs of using fossil fuels, including social and health costs such as pollution and smog. They talked about how climate change was likely to be contributing to extreme weather conditions and the cost of rebuilding infrastructure after floods or supporting farmers whose crops had failed.
They concluded that Asia needed to move quickly towards clean energy and that the Church played a role in supporting this on a cultural and practical level. They spoke of the need to place human dignity and safety at the centre of political decisions.
The churches will now consider ways to most effectively transition to clean fuels across their infrastructure. This is likely to include a blend of bought-in sustainable energy sources and potentially partnership arrangements with local clean energy developers. Some sites may also have the capacity for localised and direct clean energy generation, such as the addition of solar PV panels.