US Bishops Praise New Climate Change Bill

via USCCB:

After the introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (EICDA) yesterday, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the legislation as an important step forward in addressing climate change.

“This bipartisan bill is a hopeful sign that more and more, climate change is beginning to be seen as a crucial moral issue; one that concerns all people. If enacted, this proposal is expected to result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, the need for legislative solutions like this is more urgent than ever….

Additional in-depth and independent analysis is still needed to fully understand the potential impacts on poor and vulnerable persons, families and their communities. Supplemental support for these households may be needed to further alleviate potential financial burdens. Climate change can only ever be adequately addressed if it is done with an eye towards ‘the least of these.’”


Holy See Backs More Ambitious Climate Agenda

via Vatican:

The consensus on the final document, rather complex and technically detailed, represents a confirmation of the commitments made three years ago in Paris and of the significance of multilateralism.

Unfortunately, we must also note that the rulebook does not adequately reflect the urgency necessary to tackle climate change, which “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (LS, 25). Moreover, the rulebook seems to downplay human rights, critical in reflecting the human face of climate change, which affects the most vulnerable people on earth. Their cry and that of the earth demand more ambition and greater urgency.

The Holy See Delegation, led by the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, explained that advancing the dignity of the human person, alleviating poverty by the promotion of integral human development, and easing the impact of climate change through responsible mitigation and adaptation measures go hand in hand. We need a just transition period with all parties assuming their respective responsibilities according to the principle of equity.

As the IPCC Special Report issued in October 2018 distressingly indicated, we are called to limit responsibly the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Therefore, we encourage much greater ambition in delivering Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and stronger mechanisms toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing the decarbonisation of the current fossil fuel-based economy, transparently sharing the way each nation implements its commitments, addressing the issue of loss and damage, ensuring solid financial commitments, and promoting education in sustainability, responsible awareness, and lifestyle changes.

 


Why I Attended Both the Climate March and the March for Life

Millennial editor Robert Christian has a new article at OSV:

In January, I marched at the annual March for Life. In April, I took to the streets of Washington, D.C. once again for the People’s Climate March. On both occasions, I was motivated by the same basic impulse: to stand up for human dignity and resist the throwaway culture that Pope Francis has denounced time and time again….

The pro-life movement is changing. The movement and the March will always have a particular focus on abortion, which is entirely appropriate, given the gravity of legal abortion. But there is a growing recognition that only a whole-life approach can truly address abortion and show an authentic, consistent commitment to protecting the lives and dignity of all people. Thus, marchers carried signs that mentioned not just the unborn, but supporting their mothers, paid family leave, migrants, the unemployed, food stamps, climate change, sexual assault, human trafficking, women’s rights, human rights, people with disabilities and more….

The environmental movement is also changing. At the climate march, people of faith were formally recognized and we marched under our own banner. Giant signs displayed Pope Francis’ quotes from Laudato Si’. Catholics urged their fellow citizens to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. These were recognized as interdependent concerns that should motivate us all to support sustainable integral human development rather than being treated as competing agendas.

You can read the full article here.



Bishop Stephen Blaire: The Moral Urgency of Climate Action

In the Morning Consult, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton writes:

The impacts of climate change are more than harmful: they’re unjust. The poor and vulnerable are disproportionately impacted by these realities despite being least responsible for causing climate change.

And so we are called to act. One way to begin to ease these burdens, to protect creation and to promote the common good, is for people of faith and goodwill to support policies that will reduce the carbon pollution driving climate change. A national standard on carbon pollution, like the Clean Power Plan, deserves our support. When fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan will prevent thousands of premature deaths, dramatically reduce asthma attacks in children, and produce climate and health benefits worth tens of billions of dollars.

The need for action is clear. Thirty Catholic organizations, including dioceses, national groups, universities, and religious orders, have joined with other faith leaders to file an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit saying just that. The brief emphasizes our moral obligation to act on climate change.

As a Catholic bishop committed to the protection of human life and dignity, the promotion of the common good, and the mitigation of climate change, it is my sincere hope that this court will swiftly uphold the legal merits of the Clean Power Plan.

You can read the full article here.

 


Pope Francis should win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

Millennial at NCR WeekIn the latest Millennial at Distinctly Catholic article, Millennial editor Robert Christian writes:

Critics of the Nobel Peace Prize often note its glaring omissions, perplexing choices, and selection of those with pasts that are checkered at best. But the award has gone to many extraordinary champions of human rights and genuine peace: Martin Luther King, Jr., Lech Wałęsa, Elie Wiesel, Wangari Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, Malala Yousafzai, Liu Xiaobo, and Jody Williams are just a few of the many worthy recipients.

While Mother Teresa won the award in 1979, no pope has ever received the honor of being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. That should change this year.

For his leadership in confronting climate change and the degradation of the environment, Pope Francis should win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. He has had a transformative impact on the public’s consciousness of the grave threats facing creation, including the growing menace of climate change. He described these threats in stark terms, saying, “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”  And with this searing critique of the status quo, he has also offered a vision of a better future: sustainable development that is rooted in respect for creation and the dignity of the human person.

You can read the full post here.


Everyone Must Act Responsibly to Save Our World

Embed from Getty Images

Cardinal Peter Turkson recently gave a speech at The Future of the Corporation: From Best in the World to Best for the World. Here are some highlights of the speech:

  • Not only is there poverty and social exclusion in the midst of plenty; economic activity is also degrading the natural environment, even to the point of threatening future human life.
  • All decisions about the natural environment are ethical decisions.
  • Technology and commerce must be held to transcendental standards of the meaning of life and of the moral outlook. They must be defined by solidarity—both with all people alive today and with those not yet born—and be oriented toward the common good.
  • All human beings are affected, and everything in nature too, by climate change, misuse of natural resources, waste and pollution.
  • Everyone must act responsibly to save our world—from individuals recycling to enterprises reducing their ecological footprints to world leaders setting and enforcing ambitious carbon reduction targets.
  • Businesses contribute to the common good by producing goods that are truly good and services that truly serve.
  • This preoccupation with wants, often called “consumerism,” severs production and consumption from the common good and impedes the development of the person.
  • The production of goods and services must abide by truth instead of mere pleasure or utility.
  • New products and services—such as microenterprises, microcredit, social enterprises and impact investment—have played an important role insofar as they help the poor to address their own needs. These innovations will not only help people to lift themselves from extreme poverty but also spark their creativity and entrepreneurship and help launch a dynamic of inclusive development.
  • Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God.
  • Business must always subordinate profits to generating employment — affirming, as he put it, the priority of labor over capital.
  • The business objective of ‘good wealth’ focuses on generating sustainable wealth and distributing it justly.
  • The logic of competition promotes short-termism, which leads to financial failure and devastation of the environment.
  • The Holy Father is not anti-business; he decries an obsession with profit and the deification of the market. But when it comes to the challenges of sustainable development, he calls upon business to lead by harnessing its creativity to solve pressing human needs.
  • If business is to lead, then let’s deploy the finance, re-organization, and technology needed to decarbonize the global economy.
  • Caring for our common home requires, as Pope Francis says, not just an economic and technological revolution, but also a cultural spiritual revolution—a profoundly different way of approaching the relationship between people and the environment, a new way of ordering the global economy. And this in turn, places a great responsibility on the shoulders of business leaders and also popular leaders. But I am confident that you are up to the task!