News / USA

    US to Enlist Pope Francis' Help on Climate Change

    FILE - Pope Francis, shown in a rain poncho during a Mass near the Tacloban airport, said during his trip this month to the typhoon-vulnerable Philippines that "man has gone too far damaging the environment."
    FILE - Pope Francis, shown in a rain poncho during a Mass near the Tacloban airport, said during his trip this month to the typhoon-vulnerable Philippines that "man has gone too far damaging the environment."
    Reuters

    In a bid to bolster the Obama administration's "moral" case for combating climate change, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency will meet senior Vatican officials Friday to enlist papal support for its policies.

    EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Pope Francis, who has become a vocal climate advocate since his 2013 election, can be an ally for President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan.

    "As one of the world's most respected and influential leaders, Pope Francis, and those who advise him, will play a crucial part in advancing climate change [action] domestically and overseas,'' McCarthy, a Roman Catholic, said in an e-mail.

    This marks the second time the administration has sought the Vatican's help on a controversial issue. The pope helped mediate the effort by the United States and Cuba to reopen diplomatic relations.

    Francis has become an emerging voice on climate change, saying on a recent trip to the typhoon-vulnerable Philippines that "man has gone too far damaging the environment."

    The EPA is finalizing a series of regulations targeting carbon emissions and air pollution amid strong resistance from the Republican-led Congress and industry.

    To counter that, McCarthy has done extensive public outreach to win support for EPA proposals, touting their economic and public health benefits. She said the pope could help make her case.

    "Focusing our attention on the communities that need it most is at the core of EPA's mission to protect public health and the environment, and there is no voice more credible than the church's to speak to our moral obligation as stewards of our planet,'' McCarthy said.

    In June, the pope is expected to issue an encyclical on environmental degradation and its effects on millions of people, especially the world's poorest. The encyclical is aimed at pressuring world leaders to secure a United Nations climate agreement in Paris next December that would require rich and poor countries to halt, slow or slash their carbon emissions.

    Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, said the encyclical will "add some wind to the sails'' of the Paris talks.

    "What he says carries significant weight as he tries to live what he teaches," Misleh said. "There is moral authority to Pope Francis that is undeniable."

    Added John Grim, a director of Yale University's Forum on Religion and Ecology: "It is very appropriate that Gina McCarthy is visiting with the pope. Francis I is so widely respected that he will change the dialog on this issue.''

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tom Harris
    January 31, 2015 8:07 PM
    How foolish.

    Across the world people are suffering due to the effects of these changes. Yet aid agencies are unable to secure sufficient funds to help them because, of the one billion dollars spent globally every day on climate finance, only 6% of it is goes to
    helping vulnerable people adapt to the impacts of climate change today. The
    rest is spent on mitigation, trying to stop climate phenomena that might, or might not, someday happen. This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.

    by: Margaret Schaut from: USA
    January 30, 2015 9:02 AM
    I resent politicizing faith in this way. How EXACTLY will Enron-style payments by the people stop 'global warming' by a political leadership class that cannot even make ONE good decision for the citizens of any country? The dictators of this stupid agenda are exactly the ones employing science, technology and corporate interests that create the pollution and environmental problems that 'justify' this ridiculous solution. IMHO the corporatists and leaders need to clean up after themselves and their agendas, quit risking more than the people can afford to lose, and take their obligations to human beings and the earth itself more seriously than they take the fictions of corporations.

    by: Mal from: Perth
    January 30, 2015 1:00 AM
    Hope the Pope listens to other experts, too. I believe we could do something about pollution but, as far as climate is concerned, I have my doubts.

    by: Peter Ritter from: New Zealand
    January 29, 2015 3:34 AM
    Hopefully the Sunday Missal is is this man's enlightenment? Stop the priests abusing boys and allow contraception for married couples, keep your nose out of matters you have no business interfering in.
    In Response

    by: savio from: India
    January 31, 2015 5:59 AM
    Peter why don't you keep your nose out of matters you have no business interfering in and stop telling Catholics what to do?
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    January 29, 2015 5:22 PM
    No kidding! Why don't Obamalama ask the Imams to stop preaching TERRORISM IN THE NAME OF ISLAM!!!!!!

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    January 29, 2015 12:01 AM
    Yeah Pope, do something about the seasons too! I mean, 4 seasons? Let's cut it back to 3 to help cut back on excessive seasoning! Yeah, and this makes sense. What will the Pope's approach to climate change be: hmmmmmm, oh I know! He'll demand that all Catholics pray during the Summer Solstice for climate change, no I mean against climate change........dang! I'm confused! Why don't Obama ask the Imams to do somehting about climate change? All right Muslims, let's go! Find climate change and then rape and behead it! Wiccans would be a better choice, they talk to trees and plants everyday!

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