.- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Congress to address the moral and environmental dimensions of global climate change in light of a major international report released last week citing human activity as the likely cause of rising temperatures.
The letter to congressional leaders came from Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ international policy committee.
The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a synthesis of scientific findings in over 100 countries, including the United States.
The IPCC found that “the warming of the climate is unequivocal” and that “continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”
In his letter, Bishop Wenski addressed three major themes, drawn from Catholic Social Teaching, whic could help policymakers respond to global climate change.
He underlined the “priority for the poor” and the importance of ensuring that the needs of the poor and vulnerable around the world are not forgotten.
He also stressed the importance of pursuing “the common good”, rather than “economic, political or other narrow advantage.”
Finally, he emphasized that the “practice of prudence”, which often restrains us from acting in haste, in this case “requires us to act with urgency.”
The letter stated that the USCCB would work with Congress and others to address global climate change based on these three principles.
“We are encouraged by the increasing signs of serious attention to climate change,” Bishop Wenski said. “We hope this will be a time for our nation to come together across partisan, ideological and interest groups lines to address the moral, human and environmental dimensions of this growing challenge that faces all of humanity.”
The bishop enclosed a copy of the USCCB statement, “Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.”