Father Brian O’Donnell, S.J., executive director of the Catholic Conference of West Virginia, shares the Catholic Church’s concern about the dangers of climate change

Father Brian O’Donnell, S.J., executive director of the Catholic Conference of West Virginia, shares the Catholic Church’s concern about the dangers of climate change in a speech to the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

I’m Brian O’Donnell, Director of the Catholic Conference of WV, and I’m here to share the concern of the Catholic Church concerning the danger of climate change to humanity. For years the bishops of the Church, taking note of the consensus of scientists on the human impact upon climate change, have urged action on reduction of fossil fuel use. The Catholic Church is worldwide, and Church leaders have been hearing about the thawing of the Canadian tundra and the gradual disappearance of Pacific islands. Secular leaders have reacted to the situation, of course. One thinks of the Paris Accord and the 2015 pledge of the Group of Seven nations, the major economies of the Free World to wean themselves from fossil fuels by century’s end. The Clean Power Plan is a sane program to begin to deal with climate change. Perhaps it should be reformed. Certainly such an effort shouldn’t disappear.

 

Church leaders are quite aware of the impacts of reduction of fossil fuel use upon communities in coalfields, oilfields, etc. An important part of the change should be the inclusion of local communities in the planning of transition. As Bishop Wenski, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development wrote in 2014, “Local communities should have a voice in shaping these standards [regarding carbon limits] based on their local impact, especially low-income communities whose voice is often not heard. It is in accord with their dignity that they participate in this process.” The Clean Power Plan, to its credit, includes initiatives for such participation. Again, this is an effort that shouldn’t disappear.

 

The current chair of the Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development sums up the situation: 

The Clean Power Plan may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, but, unfortunately, the Administration does not propose an adequate alternative as it seeks to dismantle the CPP. Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction.

 

Pope Francis has stressed the impact of climate change on the poor, and has recently urged world leaders dealing with the issue not to succumb to “denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions.”

 

Along with many other faith groups, the Catholic Church judges that the  EPA should continue to develop effective efforts to deal with the danger of climate change, not ignore this danger to all.

2017-12-07T09:51:57+00:00 December 7th, 2017|