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Published on March 2nd, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan

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Pope Goes Electric

March 2nd, 2017 by  

Pope Francis has been very outspoken about the dangers of global warming, the importance of environmental stewardship, and the corruption of greed — with what seemed like a particular focus on Donald Trump and the USA last year.

Pope Francis seems to be a man of action — living by your ideals — and so it comes as no surprise that he has apparently gotten a Nissan LEAF. Though, as you might expect, the Pope doesn’t just walk into his local auto dealership and get a car. In the case of his new EV, much of the credit comes down to the foresight and focus of Berlin-based asset manager Jochen Wermuth.

Word is that Jochen Wermuth — who is working to get the Vatican to put all of its investments in sustainable enterprises — tried to get the Pope into a Tesla, but he preferred a smaller car so went with the Nissan LEAF.

Wermuth’s work is essentially part of a broader campaign (even if not officially/directly) to get the Vatican to divest from fossil fuels and go 100% green. That would certainly match the Pope’s message.

“The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement,” the Pope wrote in his May 2015 climate encyclical.

“Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in ‘lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies’,” he added, referencing an Encyclical Letter written by John Paul II in 1991.

In comments last year, responding to Trump’s claims of global warming being a Chinese hoax (what an elaborate one that would be!) and Trump and his team talking about leaving the Paris climate agreement, Pope Francis said: “The ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment shows that politics has become submissive to a technology and economy which seek profit above all else. [Humans are not] owners and masters of nature, authorized to plunder it without any consideration of its hidden potential and laws of development.”

If you’re a longtime cleantech fan, you might remember that Pope Benedict XVI also went electric, using a custom electric vehicle from Renault.

Pope Benedict also got solar panels on his Bavarian house in Pentling.

From a religious perspective, it makes a lot of sense to be a more caring person and cut your pollution. A cornerstone of just about every religion is to do as little harm to others as possible.

Of course, the nice thing today for people who want to lighten their footprint is that it also often makes sense financially — saving money as well as protecting the climate and air we all rely on for a high quality of life.

Back to Wermuth, a joint working group of the Vatican and Wermuth’s asset management firm are reportedly working to create an investment strategy that is inline with the Pope’s climate encyclical, Laudato si’: On Care For Our Common Home.

A translation from Spiegel Online reads: “Last year, Wermuth made headlines because he donated nearly €600,000 to the Greens for election campaigns in Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, thus becoming the largest single donor in the history of the party. The 47-year-old worked in Russia in the 1990s for Deutsche Bank, among others. Today the mathematician and economist works as an asset manager in Berlin.”

Naturally, Wermuth is heavily involved in the worldwide divestment movement.

Top images via Wermuth Asset Management / Driwe, bottom images via Renault


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



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