“Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.” -Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (53)
A 2019 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly states the need to cut global carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to bring emissions to net zero by 2050 in order to increase the likelihood of warming remaining under 1.5 °C. Even keeping warming to a 1.5 °C increase will still cause a rise in intensification of weather patterns, but the report states “limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, compared with 2 °C, could reduce the number of people both exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050”. As people of faith, we are called to care for our common home and to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our society.
The Paris Climate Agreement aims for each country to lower national CO2 emissions so that global emissions decrease in order to keep warming “well below 2 °C.” As the country with the second-highest emissions behind China, the United States has a moral obligation to lower emissions. In 2017 President Trump stated that he intended to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, and while the US cannot officially leave the Paris Agreement until November 2020, many of the policies of the Trump Administration have rolled back regulations on emissions at a time when the United States needs to be a leader in moving aggressively away from fossil fuels.
The “Climate Action Now Act” (H.R. 9) passed in the U.S. House, and similar legislation titled the International Climate Accountability Act (S.1743) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. The aim of both bills is to direct President Trump “ to develop a plan for the United States to meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.”
Send a message to your senators asking them to support the International Climate Accountability Act. If your senator already supports S. 1743, send them a message of thanks and ask that they encourage their peers to also support the legislation.
Dear Senator [YOUR SENATOR’S LAST NAME],
I am writing today as a person of faith to thank you for being a leader on climate change with your support of S.1743, The International Climate Accountability Act. I am grateful that you recognize the importance of taking strong action to limit the warming of the climate and to protect the most vulnerable.
My faith has taught me, that at a time when our nation and the world are feeling the effects of increasing floods, wildfires and other extreme weather events, we urgently need global climate action that will protect humanity, particularly the most vulnerable, and our common home by leading us toward a sustainable, clean energy future.
As a member of the Ignatian family, I have been inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, written in advance of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. In it, he drew special attention to the importance of international negotiations and global climate action for the common good. He wrote, “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are most powerful and pollute the most.” (Laudato Si‘, n.169)
Moving forward, I ask that you reach out to colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stress the importance of the United States meeting standards to limit warming to 1.5C.
Again, thank you for your support of S. 1743 and for your work to make sure this important piece of legislation is passed.