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Protecting Our Common Home, Promoting the Common Good: Trump’s Executive Order Fails at Both

Statement by Catholic Climate Covenant Executive Director Dan Misleh 

28-Mar-2017

Catholic Climate Covenant Statement on Trump Executive Order.pdf
At the heart of Pope Francis’ letter on the environment is his deep concern for the earth – our common home – and the common good of all people, especially the poor.  Recognizing the impact of our fossil fuels on both our home and its people, Pope Francis insists that “technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay” (Laudato Si’ 165).  

Besides Pope Francis, Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have all recognized climate change as a moral issue and called for an end to the human practices that we know damage the very planet upon which all life – including human life – depends. 

The executive orders signed today by President Trump neither protect our common home nor promote the common good.  By rolling back current and proposed federal rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the power sector as well as discounting the social costs of fossil fuels, the Trump administration is jeopardizing not only the long-term sustainability of our planet, but the immediate health and well-being of those with the fewest resources: the poorest and most vulnerable people at home and abroad. 
 
The administration claims that these new orders will create jobs and grow the economy. The fact is, however, that those who work in energy conservation and renewable energy are already experiencing an economic boom. Government policies should support the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.  As Pope Francis emphasizes, “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy” (Laudato Si’ 26). 
 
For its part, Catholic Climate Covenant is advocating for bipartisan climate change solutions and working to help the Catholic community reduced its carbon footprint through the Catholic Covenant Energies program currently being piloted in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  

There should be a healthy and honest debate about how best to protect the environment.  But the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans a major factor in climate change is no longer questioned. Rolling back rules and other approaches clearly intended to drive down dangerous greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change must be opposed, and new policies and programs that accelerate a transition to clean energy and energy conservation should be supported. 

Catholic Climate Covenant and its 16 national Catholic partners will continue to find ways to work constructively with the current administration while holding fast to Catholic teaching that protects all life, promotes human dignity, and advocates for people in poverty and those most vulnerable to environmental degradation.