Washington, D.C. – Today, Catholic Climate Covenant Associate Director, Jose Aguto, provided comments in Charleston, West Virginia at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing, Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. The hearing provides an opportunity for the public to comment about whether the EPA should repeal the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
In his comments, Aguto notes that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has consistently supported a national standard such as the Clean Power Plan and opposes efforts to weaken or repeal this landmark policy without an adequate replacement program. “In solidarity with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,” Aguto said, “Catholic Climate Covenant urges EPA not to revoke the Clean Power Plan. If EPA chooses to do so, we ask that the CPP remain in place until an alternative is proposed, approved, and implemented. That alternative should meet or exceed the CPP’s national carbon emission reduction goals of 32% by the year 2030 relative to 2005 levels.”
Aguto underscored that this position is firmly rooted in traditional Catholic teaching articulated by, among others, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He also noted the particular attention that Pope Francis paid to climate change in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ and stressed that climate change threatens core ethical imperatives to protect human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable. By some estimates, a fully implemented Clean Power Plan could prevent: 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths; 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children; and 2,700 to 2,800 hospital admissions.
Aguto concluded by quoting the U.S. Catholic bishops’ 1991 pastoral letter, Renewing the Earth, which stresses that “as individuals, as institutions, as a people we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn.” To help affect this change of heart, he stressed that the Catholic Church is committed to on-going dialogue and action “to protect our poor and vulnerable neighbors, our common home and our common future.”
Catholic Climate Covenant inspires and equips Catholic people and communities to care for creation and care for the poor. Through our seventeen national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources.