Posts tagged with: climate change

shavethatyakSince today is Earth Day you’ll be hearing even more discussions than usual about the problem of anthropocentric climate change. What you aren’t likely to hear is sufficient consideration of the question, “What kind of problem is it?”

Many people claim that it is an environmental problem. Some claim that it is a technological, scientific, or even moral problem. Others vigorously contend that is it not a “problem” at all. I believe that, first and foremost, anthropocentric climate change is a political problem. And political problems require that we choose a solution from a range of political options.

Although it may not exhaust the range of possibilities, I believe the basic listing of positions and options on climate change can be derived from a combination of these three categories:
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission determined March 22 that ExxonMobil Corporation must for the first time ever allow a vote to proceed on a proxy shareholder resolution submitted by members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ExxonMobil had attempted to block the resolution with the SEC on the grounds it was vaguely written, the company’s current business practices already aligned with the ICCR resolution and current U.S. regulations. Because any plans for climate-change mitigation in the near future inherently remains vague until specific policies are enacted, the company argued, the SEC should honor ExxonMobil’s No Action Letter on the resolution.

The resolution was filed by ICCR members the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ, and other faith-based investment groups. If passed, the resolution would require ExxonMobil adopt a “Policy to Limit Global Warming to 2°C.” The passive-aggressive resolution even goes so far as to accuse the company of funding “climate denial” while at the same time sending the company hunting for unicorns:

As a large GHG [greenhouse gas] emitter with carbon intensive products, ExxonMobil should robustly support the global framework to address climate change resulting from the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015. Constructive engagement on climate policy is especially important given Exxon’s historical role in financing climate denial and misinformation campaigns on climate change. Failing to address this could present reputational risk for ExxonMobil. In contrast to ExxonMobil, ten oil industry peers including Total, Shell, BP, and Saudi Aramco, and business leaders in other industries, support an international agreement to limit warming to 2°C. (more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, December 14, 2015
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NunIf one were to pinpoint the epicenter of sanctimonious behavior the past two weeks, he or she look no further than Paris. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, or COP21) has been a magnet for shareholder activists, nuns, clergy and other religious intent on furthering agendas ostensibly geared toward mitigating manmade global warming, but in reality promote hardship and energy poverty across the economic spectrum.

Mind you, this writer grew up under the tutelage of nuns, and found many of them to be knowledgeable in their respective subject matter while witnessing all of them as paragons of morality. But more and more, I’ve come to find this anecdotal evidence nothing more than a flawed syllogism. Simply because nuns are somewhat knowledgeable and almost always moral doesn’t necessarily add up to the equation nuns are always moral because they are, to a person, knowledgeable.

Your writer has pondered this epistemological conundrum since beginning high school 40 years ago, and the question rears its head time and again: What happens if the knowledge of activist nuns is flawed? Does it then render the morality of their conclusions suspect?

If readers answer the second interrogative in the affirmative, they also recognize the sanctimoniousness of both the nuns and those who point to their opinions as morally superior. I’m not attempting to throw nuns under their vaunted bus, however, inasmuch I’m pointing out they are as subject to buying into bad science and the passions of activism as the next person. Take for example, Sr. Aine O’Connor of the Sisters of Mercy, one of several orders of nuns belonging to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a progressive shareholder activist group. (more…)

Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico was interviewed recently for a story on WHYY FM in Philadelphia discussing the Pope’s upcoming trip to the city, and focusing on the impact of his encyclical Laudato Si’ within the Catholic Church. Sirico points out that while the Pope is correct to urge Christians to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, the inclusion of specific policy proposals on climate may prove to be unwise in the long run.

You can listen to the full interview via the audio player below.

Blog author: bwalker
Friday, July 24, 2015
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With Pope Francis at the Helm, World’s Mayors Pledge to Fight Climate Change
Nadia Prupis, EcoWatch

At the Vatican on Tuesday, mayors from around the globe pledged to fight climate change and help the world’s poor deal with the effects of a warming planet, an oath that came during a two-day conference with Pope Francis—himself a dedicated climate activist.

Vatican newspaper: ‘Red-hot Earth’
CatholicCulture.org

The front page of the July 24 edition of L’Osservatore Romano featured an article on “still more alarming data on the overheating of the Earth.” The article, entitled “Red-hot Earth,” cited a new report from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report found that “the first six months of 2015 comprised the warmest such period on record across the world’s land and ocean surfaces.”

Catholics from the Phillippines could raise 10 million signatures for Pope’s climate petition
Cat DiStasio, inhabitat

The Philippines is the world’s third largest Catholic country and the largest in Asia, and it’s also been the site of numerous natural disasters in recent years. Church leaders there are on board with the conclusions Pope Francis laid out in his historic climate change encyclical last month, which pointed to human action as the root cause of global warming. Catholic leaders in the Philippines have promised to raise 10 million signatures—half of the goal—on a petition to be presented to global political leaders at their climate summit in Paris this fall.

Pope pushing hard on climate change
Timothy Spangler, The Orange County Register

Pope Francis made headlines this week at a Vatican conference for the world’s mayors and governors. He linked the challenges caused by climate change to the increase in human trafficking that has been plaguing Europe in recent years. The pontiff is showing little sign of allowing his campaign against environmental disaster to fizzle out. He explicitly placed his hopes on the United Nations to provide leadership on these important humanitarian issues.

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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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Pope Francis Asked for Help on Economics
Michael Novak, Patheos

The great possibility for our generation is to lift out of poverty every poor man and woman on this globe. In the future, the poor ought to enjoy ever-higher standards of living. Malthusian pessimists have been proven wrong, while those like St. John Paul II, moved by hope and respect for human and divine creativity, have so far been correct.

Pope laments ‘meaningless lives’ in tying human trafficking to climate change
Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

Pope Francis said he had “great hopes” that a fundamental agreement to tackle climate change would be reached in Paris later this year and he believed the United Nations needed to play a central role in the fight against global warming. “The UN really needs to take a very strong position on this issue, particularly the trafficking of human beings … [a problem] that has been created by climate change,” the pope said.

World mayors at Vatican seek ‘bold climate agreement’
Joe Torres, WABC-TV

“Climate change has an effect on creation and creation, from the church perspective, was made by God. And we need to respect what God gave us. So that’s where he’s coming from,” said Ines San Martin, a Boston Globe Correspondent. Mayor Bill de Blasio is one of 65 mayors from across the globe who attended the conference. He gave a 10-minute speech urging his colleagues to enact legislation that protects the environment and in turn benefits the poor.

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Blog author: bwalker
Monday, July 20, 2015
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Cardinal George Pell takes a swing at Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical
Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service

Until now, Pell had remained quiet on the contents of the encyclical, despite gaining a reputation in Australia as a climate change denier. In 2011, he clashed with the then-head of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Ayers, who said Pell was “misled” in his climate change views. Despite the cardinal’s criticism of the pope’s environmental stance, Pell noted the encyclical had been “very well received” and said Francis had “beautifully set out our obligations to future generations and our obligations to the environment.”

State Senate resolution praises papal encyclical on climate change
Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown is taking a copy of the resolution with him to the Vatican next week for an international conference on climate change and modern slavery. He’s scheduled to leave the state on Friday and deliver speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday. The resolution, SR 37, says the state’s leaders should “consider the implications of the papal encyclical and climate change in their policy and fiscal actions to prevent further environmental degradation.”

Francis is naïve on climate change
Bernard Donoughue and Peter Forster, Church Times

WE WOULD like to emphasise that we share the Pope’s deep desire to reduce poverty in our world, and we agree that the costs should fall more on the richer nations, and the rich within nations, than on those who are poor. Our basic concern is that the environmental, and especially the energy policies advocated in the encyclical are more likely to hinder than to advance this great cause. . . The discovery of new ways to release the energy stored in fossil fuels was integral to the Industrial Revolution on which modern Western society is based. Let us not forget that fossil fuels are nature’s primary, and very efficient, means of storing the energy of the sun. Burning them has everywhere diverted human beings from burning wood, killing whales and seals, and damming streams: there were therefore genuine environmental benefits to be gained from the switch to fossil fuels.

Faith in change on climate
Lauren Heaton, Yellow Springs News

Last month’s 184-page encyclical was several years in the making and included exhaustive scientific data as well as wide-ranging expert opinion from natural and social scientists, said Jablonski, who holds a Ph.D. in plant physiological ecology/global climate change from McGill University. The document isn’t the first to confirm that climate change is mostly caused by humans — reports such as the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and conclusions from dozens of scientific academies around the world agree that most of the earth’s warming trend is caused by human activity. But the Pope’s letter is a call to people of all nationalities and persuasions to demand a transformation in the way humans operate in this finite ecology on Earth.

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