We call on U.S. policymakers to increase climate financing to address the needs of the 3 billion people most at risk to the consequences of climate change by fulfilling, and seeking to exceed, the $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate fund; exercise U.S. global leadership in the Paris climate talks in December 2015 to achieve a legally binding, transparent and accountable global climate change treaty, preserving our natural world for future generations; and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions—in line with principles of historical responsibility and capacity—to keep the world on track for no more than a 1.5 degree Centigrade increase in global average temperature. This includes decreasing investments in fossil fuels and increasing investments in green energy.
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.