In his historic encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on all people to care for creation and our common home. Pope Francis makes clear that our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately connected, noting that humanity is not faced “with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.” (Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home)
A Catholic response to climate change places care for creation and care for poor and vulnerable people who are most affected by climate change impacts at the center of its response. As the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote in their pastoral statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue Prudence and the Common Good, “Action to mitigate global climate change must be built upon a foundation of social and economic justice.”
During his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis said, “[C]limate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, we are living at a critical moment of history.”
As members of the Ignatian Solidarity Network we stand with Pope Francis, the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States in calling for meaningful action to address climate change that cares for creation and prioritizes the needs of the poor and vulnerable.
We ask our government leaders to demonstrate bold leadership in addressing the climate crisis by honoring the Paris Agreement, contributing to the Green Climate Fund, implementing the Clean Power Plan and supporting just transition and job creation.
- Maintain the United States’ moral leadership on climate change by honoring the Paris Agreement (COP21) and taking swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025;
- Support sustainable development and help address the underlying causes of migration by honoring the United States’ initial pledge of $3 billion and further supporting the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change;
- Protect our common home and public health, and support job creation and economic opportunity by encouraging states to craft plans to reach and exceed their Clean Power Plan carbon reduction goals by transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and enacting energy efficiency and conservation standards.
- Support just transition and job creation by developing policies that ensure that affected workers and communities are provided assistance and are meaningfully involved in the transition to a energy-efficient, climate resilient and clean energy economy.
Pope Benedict XVI said “Our earth speaks to us, and we must listen if we want to survive.” Since 1998, seven of the top ten warmest years globally have been recorded. The rising temperatures have increased the strength and frequency of natural disasters worldwide. In 2012 alone, natural disaster-related damages cost $100 billion and affected 125 million people worldwide. Over 90% of those persons most severely affected by climate change were from developing countries that have contributed least to global carbon emissions. In the United States, extreme heat events are the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S (700/year). People living in poverty are disproportionately more susceptible to illness or death from extreme heat or cold due to the deadly mix of likelihood of exposure and fewer resources.
Current U.S. Policy
On June 25, 2013, President Obama took several executive actions in order to reduce carbon emissions and increase worldwide resiliency to climate change. In conjunction with President Obama’s actions, the Clean Power Plan was introduced by the EPA in June 2014 as a blueprint as to how to cut carbon emissions from power plants and promote higher environmental standards nationwide. The Clean Power Plan builds on existing statewide carbon reduction initiatives and encourages increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency practices, without any increases in costs to consumers.
Join The Response
Schedule Visits With Your Members of Congress
Establishing and continuing relationships with your Senators and Representatives is crucial to advocating for justice. As both representatives and members of your communities, every Senator and Representative has an office–often multiple offices–in their home states. Visits to these offices are an impactful way to speak, neighbor to neighbor, with representatives and let them know why and how the laws and policies pertaining to environmental justice impact your community.
Sign The St. Francis Pledge (And Encourage Your Institution to Join You)
The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant, you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis Pledge.