What’s the church’s position on global warming?

We’re “against” it (LOL).  Seriously, we are called to be stewards of creation.  The church, like all sane and sensible institutions, knows the shift in global weather patterns are deeply dangerous and threaten humanity.

We’re slugging through the snowiest winter in Philadelphia history (I’m writing this on yet a fourth school snow day in 2010.  In almost 20 years of college teaching I’ve only had five snow days, but four of them have been in the past month!).  The wild swings in Philly winters show me that “global weirding” is happening.

The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is measurable.  There were 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere before the industrial revolution.  Bill McKibben’s  350.org reports, “350 is the most important number in the world—it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.  Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.  Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is 390 ppm—that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.”  If we keep ignoring the increase in Carbon Dioxide and hit, say 500 ppm, it’s all over.

The vast majority of the scientific community recognizes and teaches that global warming is real and we need to make major changes in the way we operate, or we could destroy the world given us by God.  Don’t take my word for it.  Read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  See Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.  They don’t give Nobel Prizes to Bozos.  Voices as disparate as Bill McKibben and Pope Benedict XVI are warning that we must take remedial action immediately.

Pope Benedict XVI teaches in Caritas in Veritate (2009) “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa” (#51).  He says we must change the way we think about our relationship with the environment.  “The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone.  She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction” (#51)


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