Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 11, 2001
Bishops to challenge global warming
They plead for nations to guard future of God's creation
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic bishops are preparing to issue a statement on global warming calling for "civil dialogue and prudent and constructive action" in place of the current "polarized and partisan" debate.
Catholic social teaching on stewardship of creation requires facing the issue realistically and responsibly, with special attention to its impact on the poor, the proposed statement says.
"Science is too often used as a weapon, not a source of wisdom" in the current war among various viewpoints and partisan interests, it says.
"Powerful interests use the airwaves and political process to minimize or exaggerate the challenges we face," it adds. "The search for common good and the voices of poor people and poor countries sometimes are neglected."
The bishops are scheduled to debate and vote on the statement during their spring meeting June 14-16 in Atlanta.
The statement is titled, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.
"At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures," it says. "It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about our human stewardship of God's creation and our responsibility to those who come after us."
The statement acknowledges that the issue of global warming involves "a complicated scientific, economic, moral and political discussion."
But it says there is growing agreement among experts "that something significant is happening to the atmosphere" and that the impact of global warming "could be quite serious."
Because of the potential impact, it says, there is a need not only for more research, but also for "steps now to mitigate possible negative effects in the future."
"We simply cannot leave this problem for the children of tomorrow" through delay and indecision now, it says.
The statement notes some groups, "usually affluent advocates from the developed nations," are blaming global warming on "population growth in poor countries."
"Affluent nations have to acknowledge the impact of their voracious consumerism instead of simply calling for population and emissions controls from people in poorer nations.''
The statement calls for "solidarity with the poor who are often without the resources" to confront the problems emerging from global warming.
"Energy resource adjustments must be made both in the policies of richer countries and in the development paths of poorer ones," it says.
In the proposed statement, the bishops note that they are speaking as religious leaders, not scientists.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.