Pope to make climate action a moral obligation


The Independent – September 23, 2007

It seems that all politicians want to get involved in climate control on one side or the other. The Pope (whom many will say is not a politician) is not immune to this effort.

On one side of the equation, I think this is appropriate but on the other, I have some concerns. If the Pope restricts his comments to saying that humanity is obligated to care for the world then I think this is appropriate. I am not a theologian but even I can find several references in the Bible to support this argument.

On the other hand, if the Pope says that we need to take certain actions to prevent global warming so that certain people do not suffer, I have some concerns.  As I have said on this site many times (here, here, here, and here), it is difficult to say that preventing global warming is worth the cost and it may be far better to try to prevent other diseases and sufferings that have been delivered on the poorest people of the world. Since we live in an imperfect world, wouldn’t it be better to deliver fresh water to the masses or fight malaria? We know that we can solve these problems with far more certainty than reversing global warming which some say is simply a natural cycle.

The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in the UK, said last night: "This is a crucial issue both today and for all future generations. We are the stewards of creation and we need to take that responsibility seriously and co-operate to care for the created world."

News of the speech comes as Vatican City has become the first fully carbon-neutral state in the world, after announcing it is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting a forest in Hungary and installing solar panels on the roof of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

"…If the Pope’s words are taken on board by his community that is one big constituency for change and could well turn the tide on climate change and environmental degradation."

You can read the rest of this column here.

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