Vatican Weighs in on Climate Change

I just finished reading a post by Republican, former climate-change-skeptic, Michael Stafford, “My Road to Damascus: Coming to Terms with Climate Change.” I have mixed feelings about his article – slightly hopeful, frustrated and angry. In fact, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. If you read it, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think. 

Instead I wanted to highlight the fact that on May 5, a working group of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (the Vatican)  issued a report on the impacts of global climate change (particularly as it relates to the loss of glaciers and mountain snow and the people who are dependent upon those sources for water). The working group recommended three measures to reduce the threat of climate change:

1.“Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible to meet ambitious international global warming targets within a few decades:

  • Focus on a rapid transition to renewable energy sources
  • Avoid removal of carbon sinks by stopping deforestation, and reforestation of degraded lands
  • Develop and deploy technologies that draw down excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

2.“Reduce concentrations of warming air pollutants (dark soot, methane, lower atmosphere ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons) by as much as 50%.

3.“Prepare to adapt to the climatic changes, both chronic and abrupt, that society will be unable to mitigate.”

These are a pretty tall order. The best most of us can do is work to make our own small contribution and then work to elect politicians who can do more.

Frankly, I think the church made an even stronger statement in support of efforts to minimize climate change at last year’s World Day of Peace. The Pope’s statement was entitled, “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.

Almost every large religious group has come out with its own statement on the care of creation. Do you know what your church has said on the topic? Maybe you’d like to take some time today to look it up online.

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