Action Alert!
Catholic World News

USCCB offers principles for addressing climate change

February 28, 2013

Responding to a request by the congressman and senator who chair a new Bicameral Climate Change Task Force, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development has offered seven principles to assist lawmakers in developing climate-change legislation.

“Effective measures to address climate change are urgent and necessary,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “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.”

“Some poor nations and small island states already experience these impacts as a matter of survival for their people and cultures,” Bishop Blaire added. “People living in poverty in communities served by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) already suffer the tragic consequences of climate change. Increasingly limited access to water, reduced crop yields, more widespread disease, and increased frequency and intensity of droughts and storms all make the lives of the world’s poorest people even more precarious.”

After quoting Pope Benedict and a US bishops’ document on climate change, Bishop Blaire outlined the seven 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 U.S. 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 programs 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).”


Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 01, 2013 2:04 PM ET USA

    We can be grateful that the bishop(s) have not called for changes in greenhouse gases. They want help the poor who are affected by, for example, solar activity and cloud cover. (The middle class and rich can go hang.) Notice also that "climate change" is used instead of "global warming." The bishop(s) apparently recognize that scientists don't know if, in the long run, the world is getting warmer or colder -- a fact that makes steps for man to change the climate problematic.

  • Posted by: JJF - Mar. 01, 2013 1:04 PM ET USA

    Increased carbon dioxide concentration should increase crop yields not decrease them.

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Mar. 01, 2013 9:49 AM ET USA

    The progressive magisterium! It's wearying. It stinks. It will not help one soul get to heaven. Enough.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Feb. 28, 2013 6:56 PM ET USA

    Of all the things that the USCCB should be dealing with regarding the crisis of Faith in this country, why do they insist on sticking their noses into matters that are political and secular? I thought God was in charge of climate control, not man. Why did the glaciers melt? It certainly wasn't from man's carbon emissions. These bishops have a poltical agenda to redistribute the wealth, and climate control is just another one of their methods.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 28, 2013 5:33 PM ET USA

    I don't believe that Bishop Blaire has the expertise or has access to the expertise to issue a document about such controversial and contested climate science. I believe Whitehouse and Waxman, two members of the progressive left in Congress, will use the Bishop's ill conceived letter to hoodwink Catholic voters in order to gain political support for "cap and trade" and other progressive political schemes. What can Bishop Blaire be thinking?

  • Posted by: joancollins507161 - Feb. 28, 2013 4:48 PM ET USA

    WHY, WHY, do the bishops continue to address issues like so-called "climate change"? Scientists are still divided on the issue, at any rate, and there has been a lot of dishonesty in the record keeping. Bishops need to catechize ignorant Catholics, young and old, who no longer believe in the divinity of Jesus; to clean up colleges that call themselves "Catholic"; to work on Church music; to teach priests how to preach! I'm fed up with our Church being used to promote leftist ideologies!