The third-ever global coral bleaching event is killing coral reefs and the many creatures that rely upon them worldwide. Hot global temperatures are heating up the oceans, and are compounded by a strong El Niño pattern, causing stresses, vulnerability, and death to corals that cannot withstand the hotter temperatures. In the absence of significant mitigation [...]
In last night’s Democratic Party presidential debate, two of the five candidates on stage–Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley–said that climate change is one of the greatest threats to the United States’ national security. This sentiment may have come as a surprise to many Americans–conservatives and liberals alike. Are these politicians blowing the threat of climate [...]
This post is part of the “Prelude to Paris” series highlighting updates and analysis on international climate negotiations in the lead up to the United Nations climate change conference – the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) — to be held in Paris this December. Other posts in the series are available here. Today, nearly [...]
In his address to the United Nations, Pope Francis focused on a variety of issues, but paid special attention to the ecological crisis. He stated, “The ecological crisis along, with the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.” As with his environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis linked the interdependence of humanity with nature (which he frequently referred to as “Creation”). As he put it, “Any harm done to the environment is harm done to humanity.” The harm caused to the environment, as well as to humanity, is a symptom of a “Culture of Waste”, another theme found in Laudato Si stated as a “Throwaway Culture.”
Noticeably absent, Pope Francis did not mention the term “climate change” or “global warming”. But his reference to Laudato Si, which heavily speaks about environmental degradation including climate change, is a nod towards the issue.
This blog was originally published on Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) blog, The Equation, by Kenneth Kimmel, president of UCS. SACE’s clean fuels team works to support UCS’ Half the Oil vision to improve air quality and cut oil use in half over the next 20 years through innovative strategies including improved vehicle efficiency and [...]
One theme throughout Laudato Si is the juxtaposition of the “tyranny over creation” (anthropocentrism) versus a cooperation and cultivation of nature. As stated by Pope Francis, “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.” Fossil fuels including “coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay,” are specifically identified as forms of tyranny over creation. In essence, fossil fuels reinforce a consumerist mindset of prideful, greedy and gluttonous (yet, false) control over nature – that humanity can extract and consume fossil fuels on our own terms (some would say, “dispatchable generation”). Alternatively, Pope Francis’ call to a cooperative (fraternal) relationship with creation highlights potential solutions to fossil fuels; “Fraternal love can only be gratuitous…That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them.” The variability (some would say “intermittency”) of renewable energy provides an opportunity for humanity to exercise temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility with nature. Faithful Catholics may recognize the juxtaposition of mortal sins versus holy virtues.
This post, written by Juan Declet-Barreto, originally appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard blog on June 11, 2015 and is reposted with permission. Addressing the disproportionate impacts of carbon pollution on the health of low-income and minority communities is one of the most compelling reasons for combating climate change. Many serious and rigorous scientific studies have shown that [...]
In 2013, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published Energy, Justice and Peace: A Reflection on Energy in the Current Context of Development and Environmental Protection. It wasn’t translated into English until late 2014 and must be ordered from the Vatican – it’s not an easy book to get ahold of. The Council is appointed by the pope, and its primary charge is “to engage in action-oriented studies based on both the papal and episcopal social teaching of the Church.” The Council’s work offers a credible sneak peek into Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical. Listed below are a few major themes from the book.
In honor of Black History Month, SACE is publishing a blog series highlighting the efforts of African American leaders working to ensure that clean energy opportunities are available for all people and communities in the Southeast. This post is the third in the series; find additional posts here. Reverend Leo Woodberry has a long history as [...]