Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Climate change and the Pope

By Dan Farber

Obviously, I need to pay more attention to news from the Vatican, since this story is a year old:

Pope Benedict XVI focused his annual address to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican on the environment and the protection of creation. He denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month.

In his address to diplomats from more than 170 nations accredited to the Vatican, Pope Benedict expressed concern about the failure to reach agreement on climate change at the Copenhagen summit last month.

More recently, the U.S. bishops have emphasized the Church’s concern about climate change:

The bishops and other leaders of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment outlined in a letter to Congress broad agreement on four key principles:

  • The principle of prudence requires us to act to protect the common good by addressing climate change.
  • The consequences of climate change will be borne by the world’s most vulnerable people and inaction will only worsen their suffering.
  • Policies addressing global climate change should enhance rather than diminish the economic situation of people in poverty.
  • Policies should help vulnerable populations here and abroad adapt to climate impacts and actively participate in these efforts.
  • The USCCB supports strong leadership by the United States and policies that protect poor and vulnerable people, at home and abroad, from 1) bearing the most severe impacts of climate change and from 2) the human and economic costs associated with legislation to respond to climate change.

    Climate change is a very long-term problem, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the world’s oldest continuously operating institutution — which has been the Catholic Church since the last Chinese emperor abdicated — is taking the issue seriously.  Unlike many other institutions (not to mention today’s politicians), the Church presumably expects to be around in the upcoming centuries when climate change gets really bad.

    Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.