US bishops propose climate change principles

The American Catholic bishops have proposed seven principles to help lawmakers to take “urgent and necessary” measures to address climate change.

“Evidence continues to point toward significant damaging impacts from climate related events in the United States, across the globe, and particularly for the poorest developing countries,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire, who chairs the bishops’ committee on domestic justice and human development.

He was responding on behalf of the bishops to a request from a Congressional task force on climate change.

“As pastors and people of faith, we are not experts on the science, technical remedies and particular provisions of legislation or regulatory measures to address climate change,” Bishop Blaire said. “Our efforts seek to link care for creation and care for ‘the least of these’.”

The bishops asked the Congress and federal government to consider these principles:

+ Prudence requires us to act to protect the common good by addressing climate change at home and abroad.

+ The consequences of climate change will be borne by the world’s most vulnerable people and inaction will worsen their suffering.

+ Policies addressing global climate change should enhance rather than diminish the economic situation of people in poverty.

+ Policies should create new resources to assist poor and adversely affected communities to adapt and respond to the effects of global climate change in the US and in vulnerable developing countries.

+ Policies to address climate change should include measures to protect poor and vulnerable communities from the health impacts of climate change, including increased exposure to climate-sensitive diseases, heat waves and diminished air quality.

+ Participation by local affected communities in shaping policy responses to address climate change and programmes for adapting to climate change is essential.

+ Technology should be made available to people in the most vulnerable developing countries to help them adapt to the effects of climate change (adaptation) and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation).


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Image: The Guardian

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