Extractive industries are a major contributor to climate change, since they are responsible for extracting the natural resources whose consumption and extraction release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Even metallic mining such as silver and iron contribute to climate change given the energy needed to extract it, transportation to another country or region where it is processed and then sold.
Extractive industries affect more than the health of the planet. They affect the health of our communities too. Air pollution is equal opportunistic when it comes to impacting human health. But when much of the infrastructure of the U.S. petroleum industry is concentrated near low-income communities, its effect on these communities and their residents becomes outsized.
The call for faith leaders and communities is to challenge extractive industries to publicly state the impact of their operations on climate change and to demand sustainable actions that will protect vulnerable communities where the corporations operate.
We also must make sure that the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy does not fall on the backs of communities where the critical minerals for new technologies are mined.
- Calculate your carbon footprint to give you a clear starting place, which will allow you to set achievable goals for reducing your impacts.
The Root Causes of Climate Change: Understanding Extractive Industries and their Impacts
The Catholic Climate Covenant and the Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries offered a one-hour webinar exploring how a faithful and just response to climate change must address the extraction and exploitation on a massive scale of natural resources such as coal, oil and gas, with specific examples from the Southwestern United States and Peru.