Catholic support for a price on carbon dioxide emissions was on display during a weekend climate change conference, where two bishops, an environmental leader and former Vatican ambassador touted it as a critical climate solution that is both effective and “eminently doable.”
Bishops John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, and Robert McElroy of San Diego both backed the idea of a carbon tax on coal, oil and gas companies, which would be redistributed to Americans in the form of a dividend.
McElroy said it is the responsibility of people of faith to “raise the alarm” about climate change and demand real solutions from public officials.
“The carbon tax is a central element of that, because it’s a way of ensuring, in an economically sound manner, that the carbon we put into the atmosphere is reduced in the years to come,” he said.
Just as important, he added, “it’s eminently doable….”
The comments came during an online conference May 15 held by Citizens Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan climate solutions advocacy organization that for years has pushed for Congress to put a price on carbon….
McElroy, in his video message, echoed Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” stressing that despite the ecological destruction facing the planet, people still have the ability to act. “It’s not that we can’t do anything to stop this; we can. We just aren’t choosing to do so.”
“There are smart ways to rescue the climate, and to stop climate change and to reverse it. But we have to act now, because the damage is building upon itself with every passing year,” McElroy said.
Francis Rooney, a Vatican ambassador under President George W. Bush and a former Florida Republican congressman who co-sponsored one of the first carbon fee bills, praised Francis and Laudato Si’ for putting science at the forefront along with the how global warming impacts the poor.
Rooney said his support for the environment is part of his overall pro-life advocacy: “You can’t be pro-life in one way and not be pro-life in other ways. And the number of people who are going to have their life threatened in their environment, severely threatened by the radical climate change over the next 40 or 50 years, is quite disheartening….”
The above comes from a May 17 story in the National Catholic Reporter.