Today we welcome Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America. As fellow Catholics, we join others in the U.S. Catholic community in prayer for the success of his administration and the 117thU.S. Congress. We pray that they all willprotect and promote the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death.
Catholic Climate Covenant looks forward to working with the Biden Administration and Congress to address the climate crisis and advance care for our common home, in collaboration with our partners, constituents, and the entire Catholic community.
As Catholics concerned with the threat of climate change and environmental degradation, we welcome the new administration’s bold plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the primary driver of climate change. We are especially pleased that the administration has already started the process to rejoin the Paris climate accord. We anticipate the announcement of more efforts to tackle the climate crisis at the end of this month.
We look forward to administrative and legislative actions that lead to a better future for our children that includes cleaner, safer sources of energy, good-paying clean energy jobs, less carbon pollution that contributes to climate change, and cleaner air and water for all – especially for low-income communities and those most vulnerable to this pollution including unborn and young children – many of whom have been on the frontlines of pollution for too long.
We recall what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote in 2001, “At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family.”
In light of Catholic teaching, our community and members stand ready to work with the USCCB and national, state and local faith and community leaders to ensure that our future as one human family is secured in the face of environmental threats including climate change, and that work on climate change integrates both the needs of the environment and the needs of people, especially the poor.
Pope Francis, furthering the calls made by Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, states in Laudato Si’, “A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
In this spirit, and consistent with the calls from our bishops and other Catholic leaders, we welcome administrative and legislative efforts that might include:
- Reaffirming the importance of U.S. leadership and urging continued commitment to the Paris agreement: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/upload/USCCB-CRS-Letter-Secretary-Treasury-05-05-2017.pdf
- Continued Support of the Green Climate Fund to help the most vulnerable communities worldwide deal and respond to climate change: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/upload/USCCB-CRS-Letter-Secretary-Treasury-05-05-2017.pdf
- Fully funding the EPA: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/upload/Appropriations-Letter-08-23-17.pdf
- Support for bipartisan climate solutions: https://www.usccb.org/resources/2020-10-01-Environment-Archbishop%20Coakley-Remarks%20for%20%20Hill%20Briefing%20on%20Environment_0.pdf
- Continued support for strong vehicle emission standards: https://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/NPRM-CAFE-Comment-Draft-101118-AP-1.pdf
- Support for the Kigali Amendment to address ozone depletion: https://www.usccb.org/resources/joint-letter-secretary-state-support-kigali-amendment-march-18-2018
- Continued support for a strong Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule to protect the most vulnerable from mercury pollution: https://www.usccb.org/news/2019/concern-over-new-mercury-rule-expressed-chairmen-us-bishops-domestic-justice-and-pro-life
- Advance, not undermine, the National Environmental Policy Act: https://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/NEPA-Comment-Final.pdf
- Support for a price on carbon that ensures, among other policies, that such a price does not add to the burdens of low-income families and communities: https://www.usccb.org/news/2019/us-bishops-domestic-chairman-reacts-bipartisan-carbon-pricing-bill
- Support a national standard to reduce emissions from the electric sector: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/environmental-justice-program/upload/letter-to-epa-from-archbishop-wenski-on-carbon-emissions-standards-2014-05-29.pdf
- Support for the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/environmental-justice-program/upload/Letter-to-Sen-Energy-on-energy-efficiency-2013-06-24.pdf
Among the critical functions of government is to protect human life, uplift human dignity and promote the common good. Caring for our common home does all three of these things and will require not only governmental action but also responsible actions by individuals and communities.
May God bless this administration and congress as we work together as citizens of this common home.