Bishops, Catholic Leaders, Even Exxon Criticize Trump’s Climate Policies

The USCCB released a statement on President Trump’s latest executive order:

President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on March 28, 2017 that rescinds and weakens numerous environmental protections, and effectively dismantles the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest pollution emitting sector, making up just under one-third of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.

“The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship and has called consistently for ‘our own country to curtail carbon emissions,'” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in response to the order. “This Executive Order places a number of environmental protections in jeopardy and moves the U.S. away from a national carbon standard, all without adopting a sufficient plan for ensuring proper care for people and creation. Yesterday’s action means that, sadly, the United States is unlikely to meet its domestic and international mitigation goals.”

Brian Roewe at NCR describes Catholic opposition to President Trump’s latest climate change policies:

In a statement, Catholic Climate Covenant Executive Director Dan Misleh said the executive order “neither protects our common home nor promotes the common good.”

“By rolling back current and proposed federal rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the power sector as well as discounting the social costs of fossil fuels, the Trump administration is jeopardizing not only the long-term sustainability of our planet but the immediate health and well-being of those with the fewest resources: the poorest and most vulnerable people at home and abroad,” Misleh said.

On a call with reporters, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, re-upped the U.S. bishops’ conference’s continued support of a national carbon emissions standard and echoed Pope Francis’ call for a moral approach to climate change that prioritizes the common good with special attention toward future generations and the poor, who lack the resources to withstand the impacts.

“The effects of climate change — melting glaciers, rising sea levels, stronger storms and increased drought — cause food and water stresses, illness, and fatalities that threaten human life and human dignity, and we believe are an assault on God’s creation,” Pates said.

Asked if climate change would be a focus of interactions the bishops have with the Trump administration, the Iowa bishop replied, “It has been and will continue to be, I think, a very high priority.”

Even Exxon opposes abandoning the Paris climate accord:

ExxonMobil, the largest American oil group, has written to the Trump administration urging it to keep the US in the Paris climate accord agreed at the end of 2015.

In a letter to President Donald Trump’s special assistant for international energy and the environment, Exxon argues that the Paris accord is “an effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change”.