In his May encyclical Laudato si, the Pope argued that virtue and faith demand an immediate response to global warming. Many conservatives reply that economic growth, best delivered by free markets, has done more than anything to lift people from poverty. Because low energy prices facilitate growth, they say that responding to global warming in a way that raises energy prices will slow growth and hurt the least fortunate among us.
While much of what conservatives say is true, one does not need to be a Catholic, a socialist or a scientific alarmist to believe that we’re morally required to take action on climate change. Indeed, the moral argument for liberty and free-market capitalism implies that we’re required to act.
According to many conservatives, the core purpose of government is to protect rights to life, liberty and property. If greenhouse gas emissions threaten to violate those rights, then government must act against the threat.
That climate change poses risk of catastrophe is not at issue. Harvard economist Martin Weitzman calculates that, if the scientific assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is correct, there is about a 10% chance that future warming will exceed 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
Climate skeptics in the science community, who don’t buy IPCC narratives, believe that the chance of such catastrophic warming is lower, but concede that a great deal of uncertainty exists, so we can’t know for sure.
A large number of scientists, on the other hand, believe that the IPCC understates the risks………
The fact that we cannot precisely establish the risk we’re taking with our children’s future does not belie the fact that dice are being rolled. Pope Francis argues this poses a “basic question of justice.”
In this regard, he is right, and conservatives should listen. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/25/opinions/taylor-climate-change-conservatives/index.html
Pope Francis warns UN of threats from climate change, nuclear arms, war SEPTEMBER 25, 2015, BY CNN, NEW YORK — Pope Francis, in his address at the United Nations on Friday, praise the Iran nuclear deal and warned that climate change and partisan conflicts threaten humanity.
Francis said the ecological crisis and widespread destruction of biodiversity “can threaten the very existence of the human species.” He said a “right of the environment” exists, and any harm done to the environment therefore is a harm done to humanity. “We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect,” he said.
Pope Francis praised the Iran nuclear deal and said there is an “urgent need” to rid the world of nuclear weapons. “The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political goodwill and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy,” he said.
Francis also warned that current global conflicts should “serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs.” …….http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/09/25/pope-francis-warns-un-of-threats-from-climate-change-nuclear-arms-war/
Group hopes Francis will take issue of eliminating nuclear weapons to Congress, National Catholic Reporter, Thomas C. Fox | Aug. 28, 2015 Ira Helfand hopes Pope Francis will call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons when he addresses Congress in September and Helfand has reason for cautious optimism.
The Springfield, Mass., physician is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. It was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 1985 “for spreading authoritative information and raising awareness of the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war.”
Helfand has worked for years to raise consciousness regarding the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear war. In this context, he and John Pastore, a Boston cardiologist, sat down with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley in June to share details of recent studies that show even a limited nuclear exchange would lead to the starvation of some 2 billion people. By far, the greatest impact of such a nuclear exchange would be on the poorest people of the planet. Continue reading
American Churches and the Iran Nuclear Deal, Weekly Standard, AUG 20, 2015 • BY MARK TOOLEY Most church groups and prominent religious voices speaking to the Iran nuclear deal are supportive. Most notable among them is the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. n April, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, who leads the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote members of Congress to hail the accord as an “important step in advancing a peaceful resolution.” He quoted Pope Francis, who prayed that, “the framework…may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”………
In July, Bishop Cantú again wrote Congress to commend the “remarkable step with Iran in reaching this agreement” and urging Congress to “support these efforts to build bridges that foster peace and greater understanding.”
Liberal Evangelical activist Jim Wallis of Sojourners similarly hailed the accord for pursuing options that will “prevent further war with more dangerous weapons,” which is the “right course of action in a highly imperfect world.” He warned that “those who oppose deals like this often proclaim a binary world of simple good and evil, which we don’t have — and believing so is a dangerous illusion.”………https://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/american-churches-and-iran-nuclear-deal_1015151.html
Can an Islamic climate change declaration inspire 1.6B Muslims? Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter ClimateWire: Monday, August 17, 2015 Islamic leaders from around the globe tomorrow will unveil a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to embrace climate change action as part of their religious duty.
Activists gathering in Istanbul for the event said that just as Pope Francis declared climate change essential to the Catholic faith, they hope Islamic religious scholars can inspire Muslim communities to make the issue a priority.
“Islam is very strong on environmental protection,” said Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network International, who is helping to organize the declaration.
“From the Quran to the hadiths [sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad], it really says it is a human responsibility … that we are tasked with protecting creation and it is part of our duties as Muslims,” he said.
Leaders will be carrying that message when the Islamic Climate Change Declaration is formally unveiled at the conclusion of a two-day symposium organized by Islamic Relief Worldwide, the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, and GreenFaith.
In addition to emphasizing the Quran’s teachings on environmental protection and the role that Islam can play in addressing climate change, it is expected to call on wealthy countries to “drastically” reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help vulnerable nations grapple with climate impacts.
A call for a fossil fuel-free world
Issuing the declaration will be religious and political leaders from throughout the Muslim world, including professor Din Syamsuddin, president of the Indonesian Council of Ulama; Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, grand mufti of Uganda; and Mohammed El Arwadi, a representative of the grand mufti of Lebanon……..
As home to the world’s second-largest religion, Hmaidan said, Muslim countries and Islamic leadership can play a unique role in shaping the global climate accord that countries hope to sign in Paris in December. Currently, he said, climate change is only sporadically raised in Islamic discussions, usually as part of a particular initiative. He called the symposium and declaration a “first step” in substantively engaging communities during Friday prayer and other occasions.
“To change everything, you need everyone,” he said. “Every key community in the world needs to really start putting climate change on the agenda.” http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023527
Let us never repeat the sin of nuclear destruction Seventy years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we continue to call on all people to eliminate the evil of atomic weapons, Aljazeera America, August 9, by Greg Boertje-Obed , Megan Rice & Michael Walli
On July 28, 2012, we entered the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and shut it down in an act of non-violent resistance. We hung protest banners, poured human blood and spray-painted graffiti with messages of peace on the uranium facility’s walls. Calling ourselves the Transform Now Plowshares, we tried to stop the continuation of our country’s nuclear weapons production, because it is illegal, immoral and irrational. The reckless quest for enduring nuclear superiority has led our country and our world into a harrowing danger zone in which the threat of planetary annihilation hangs over all of creation.
Because of our action, Y12, a charter facility of the Manhattan Project from which the uranium that obliterated Hiroshima 70 years ago was issued, stopped its deadly work for more than two weeks. We were subsequently charged for property damage and sabotage, tried and sentenced to three to five years in federal prison. After two years imprisonment, an appellate court threw out our sabotage conviction this past May and ordered our resentencing. Our next court date is Sept. 15.
But the challenge to resist nuclear weapons is not ours alone. It is a shared responsibility, and a shared opportunity to secure a future for our human family and for Mother Earth.
Nuclear weapons remain poised to destroy all life on the planet, something no rational person would want. These weapons have been involved in many accidents, and we know they can be set off unintentionally. Despite these dangers, our government has continually updated plans to fight and supposedly win a war using nuclear weapons. Our soldiers repeatedly prepare and train to launch them. As a matter of longstanding international law, nuclear weapons, which are designed to unleash massive indiscriminate destruction on civilians, are weapons to commit war crimes. In fact, preparing to use such weapons is itself a war crime.
Simply mining for the uranium and assembling the weapons already kills many people. Workers in nuclear bomb factories regularly die from many types of cancer. The late scientist Rosalie Bertell estimated many years ago that 10 million people have died from the building and testing of nuclear weapons.
We need to be particularly concerned about nuclear weapons today because many nations are beginning the process of spending massive amounts of economic resources to upgrade and expand the death-dealing power of nuclear weaponry. The U.S. alone is preparing to spend a trillion dollars on this effort. This is unconscionable.
The great religious traditions teach that we ought to act on behalf of life and to intervene for the downtrodden and poor, the orphans and widows. The vast resources dedicated to killing and preparing to kill are a waste and a theft from those who are destitute and in need, and thus contradict that divine directive to cherish and serve life itself. In conscience, we must struggle against the massive forces of death if we are to fulfill our commitment to practice compassion and love for people, life and the planet.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to say to his opponents in the latter days of South Africa’s Apartheid: “Come over to the winning side.” We believe that the forces for life and love are stronger than the forces of death and destruction. We invite everyone to join the struggle in order to be on the side of hope and life, even though it often looks as if we are not on the winning side……….
Greg Boertje-Obed, a former U.S. Army officer, is a member of Veterans for Peace and co-founder of Transform Now Plowshares, a non-profit interfaith activist group that favors non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons.
Sister Megan Rice, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus since 1950, is a co-founder of Transform Now Plowshares, an interfaith pacifist group that favors non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons. She served as a teacher in the U.S. until 1962 and until 2003 in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana).
Michael Walli, a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C., is a co-founder of Transform Now Plowshares, a non-profit interfaith activist group that favors non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons. http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/8/let-us-never-repeat-the-sin-of-nuclear-destruction.html
Immmorality of nuclear weapons, power – former International Court of Justice President Mohammed Bedjaoui
Former ICJ head says Japan is world’s conscience against nuclear weapons, power http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201507260018 July , 26, 2015 By ROY K. AKAGAWA/ AJW Staff Writer HIROSHIMA–Due to their bearing witness to the destruction of the atomic bomb and a nuclear disaster, Japan and its people are “the keepers and shepherds of Planet Earth.”
That was the key conclusion of the keynote address by former International Court of Justice President Mohammed Bedjaoui on July 25 at the International Symposium for Peace 2015 titled “The Road to Nuclear Abolition” held at the International Conference Center Hiroshima.
“Japan becomes the only country in the world to have been the victim of both military and civilian nuclear energy, having experienced the crazy danger of the atom, both in its military applications, destruction of life and its beneficial civilian use, which has now turned into a nightmare with the serious incidents of Fukushima,” he said.
He was referring to not only the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, but also the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Bedjaoui was the president of the ICJ in 1996 when it issued an advisory opinion that marked an important turning point in the international movement to ban nuclear weapons.
Other participants took part in a panel discussion in which they presented their views on what the atomic bombings mean today. The event was sponsored by the Hiroshima municipal government, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and The Asahi Shimbun. Masako Ikegami, a professor of decision science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said the passing of 70 years since the atomic bombings was sufficient time to consider the weapons in a new light.
“In humanitarian terms, nuclear weapons are unacceptable, and discussions have to move toward acknowledging their use as a crime against humanity,” she said.
Max McCoy, a university professor and writer from the United States, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1986 as part of a project to bring U.S. journalists to Japan.
Showing the photos he took at that time and recalling the interviews he had with hibakusha, McCoy talked about the importance of passing on the experiences of those who survived the atomic bombing.
“We need to remember the testimony of the hibakusha and to know the truth of what (the atomic bombings) were like,” McCoy said.
The symposium began with guest speaker Dai Tamesue talking about what would be needed to maintain peace.
“I believe a major problem arises when an atmosphere develops in society which makes it difficult to speak up in a different way from the vast majority,” Tamesue, a retired athlete, said.
He was asked to speak because he is a third-generation hibakusha. Tamesue, who was the first Japanese track athlete to win a medal at the world track and field championships, was born and raised in Hiroshima. His grandmother was in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city.
I thought we had enough to worry about with our government leader Tony Abbott. Now our religious heavy is out to dceny climate change. I’m ashamed to be Australian!
Cardinal George Pell criticises Pope Francis over climate change stance , SMH, July 19, 2015 Kerrie Armstrong Cardinal George Pell has publicly criticised Pope Francis’ decision to place climate change at the top of the Catholic Church’s agenda.
Cardinal Pell, a well-known climate change skeptic, told the Financial Times the church had “no particular expertise in science”.
“The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters,” he said,
“We believe in the autonomy of science.”
Francis is on to something by inviting mayors to the Vatican, rather than state-level leaders, such as prime ministers and presidents.
The Vatican summit this week comes ahead of a crucial round of United Nations climate talks scheduled for early December in Paris.
It’s a safe bet that Francis will nudge policymakers in the U.S. to push for climate action when he speaks at the U.N. in September, and becomes the first-ever pope to address a joint session of Congress.
Pope Francis convenes world’s mayors to discuss global warming, Mashable Australia, Andrew Freeman 20 July 15 Anyone who thought that Pope Francis was going to issue his climate change manifesto, and then recede quietly into the background on the issue was sorely mistaken.
In fact, judging from his agenda this week, it’s clear that Francis intends to be a major player in spurring leaders to combat global warming, which he sees as inextricably linked to efforts to lift the plight of the world’s poor.
This week, the Vatican’s science committees will host two days of meetings with 50 mayors and governors from around the world; they will discuss ways to implement policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, boosting resilience to climate extremes and eradicating poverty. Continue reading
From Pope Francis to Green Muslims, faith groups steadfast in push for clean energy, Midwest Energy News, BY Kari Lydersen, 9 July 15 Rev. Booker Steven Vance took to the pulpit in historic Old St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Chicago on June 22 to praise Pope Francis’ ground-breaking encyclicalon climate change and sustainability.
Vance attached a very concrete and local element to the Pope’s sweeping call to action. He and other religious and environmental leaders hosting a press conference declared that passing a proposed Clean Jobs bill in the Illinois legislature is one way the Pope’s call to action should be answered.
“The encyclical provides an opportunity for a game-changer, bringing this conversation to a whole new level,” said Vance. “I’m talking about the bill downstate in Springfield that deals with clean air, clean energy and clean jobs. The pope is absolutely correct, we are responsible and the onus falls on us.”
That same evening 90 miles north in Milwaukee, the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin, also known as the Wisconsin Green Muslims, gathered to break the Ramadan fast together while also talking about a spiritual obligation to care for the earth, in part by reducing carbon emissions and embracing a more sustainable lifestyle…………
The Clean Jobs bill would create about 32,000 jobs in Illinois, according to proponents, by increasing the state’s commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found it would spur $23 billion in clean energy investment and lower consumer bills by a total of $12 billion over 15 years.
The bill has widespread support — including from interfaith groups and religious leaders — but it also faces competing bills backed by powerful energy interests and a state budget crisis that is consuming the legislature’s attention.
Meanwhile the Wisconsin Green Muslims also are up against powerful forces in trying to promote clean energy……….http://midwestenergynews.com/2015/07/09/from-pope-francis-to-green-muslims-faith-groups-steadfast-in-push-for-clean-energy/
Pope Francis Calls Nuclear Power Plants a Modern-Day Tower of Babel, Helen Caldicott MD by Ricky Onsman on June 26, 2015
In an audience with Japanese Bishops, Pope Francis had criticized nuclear power by comparing it with the Tower of Babel, as reported by Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of Tokyo. When human beings attempted to reach heaven they triggered their own destruction. “Human beings should not break the natural laws set by God,” the Pope said. (Mainichi Shinbun March 22, 2015; Asahi Shinbun March 25, 2015)
This is probably the first clear-cut criticism of the “civil use” of nuclear power issued by the Vatican. The Pope expressed his conviction during an ad limina meeting with the Japanese bishops on March 20. “The destruction of nature is a result from human beings claiming domination (over the earth).” With these statements the Pope referred to the TEPCO-nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011. Soon after the terrible disaster, the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference had publicly demanded from the government the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power plants.
During the audience, Bishop Katsuya Taiji, head of the “Council for Justice and Peace” of the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, had handed over letters of two activists from Fukushima to the Pope. The first author was Takumi Aizawa, a school clerk from Iidate Mura, the most contaminated place in Fukushima Prefecture, who is involved in health care and protection of children since the disaster. In fact Mr. Aizawa had the great wish to inform the Pope personally about the real situation of the people in the contaminated area because the government, the administration, many doctors and scientists, and the media try to cover up the extremely dangerous situation. The second author is Mako Oshidori, a well-known journalist from Tokyo, who attended most of the TEPCO press conferences with critical questions and who is investigating the contaminated region constantly…….
Until now the Vatican had condemned only the military use of nuclear power. Since the Vatican is member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it seems that with his critical statements about the “civil use” of nuclear energy Pope Francis deviates considerably from the position of his predecessors und is pursuing a new direction. Many Catholics hope that in his next encyclica on the protection of the environment the Pope will clearly voice also his critical attitude towards nuclear power.
Wolfgang Buff and Martin Repp
April 2015 http://www.helencaldicott.com/pope-francis-calls-nuclear-power-plants-a-modern-day-tower-of-babel/
10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/10-key-excerpts-from-pope-francis-encyclical-on-the-environment-20150618-ghru2s.html June 19, 2015
Pope Francis is calling for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful in his sweeping new encyclical on the environment. In Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home, he warns of harming birds and industrial waste and calls for renewable fuel subsidies and energy efficiency.
Here are some of the key passages people will read closely, everything from climate change and global warming to abortion and population control.
1. Climate change has grave implications. “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species
3. Francis called for policies to “drastically” reduce polluting gases. Technology based on fossil fuels “needs to be progressively replaced without delay” and sources of renewable energy developed.
4. Christians have misinterpreted Scripture and “must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
5. The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
6. Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
7. Population control does not address the problems of the poor. “In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” And, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.”
8. Gender differences matter, and “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognise myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”
9. The international community has not acted enough: “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.” He writes, “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.” And, “there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.”
10. Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes. “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.” The Washington Post, Reuters
Climate change is the anticipated focus of Francis’ long-awaited papal encyclical on ecology because it merges his vocal concern for the poor and marginalized with condemnation of environmental exploitation. The world’s poor, who contribute the least to climate change, are disproportionately impacted by worsening droughts, rising seas, mega storms and famine, and they are least able to evade its destructive reach…………
Hopes are high that the pope’s encyclical creates momentum and will for the enactment of a United Nations climate
change accord in Paris this December
With encyclical, Pope Francis elevates environmental justice, The Conversation, Lisa Sideris, 16 June 15 When the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose Francis as his papal name, he signaled to the world a dual commitment to sustainability and the global poor. His namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, was a man of poverty and peace who loved nature and animals, and is said to have preached his sermons to birds. Continue reading
It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.
The pope chose Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, as his namesake at the start of his papacy in 2011, saying the saint’s values reflected his own.
Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate, Guardian, John Vidal, 13 June 15 The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?
Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.
In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff.
However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.
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