The United States should create a commission to combat the harms of climate change and promote human dignity as a whole, the U.S. bishops said in a letter to Congress. “The Church calls for courageous actions and strategies aimed at promoting an integral ecology that considers together the protection of nature, the need for equitable economic development and the promotion of human dignity, especially that of the poor,” the chairmen of two bishops’ conference committees said in a Sept. 15 letter to Congress.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops backed the Climate Solutions Commission Act of 2017, which would establish a bipartisan National Climate Solutions Commission. The bill, H.R. 2326, was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.
“This bill has the potential to inspire positive and concrete solutions towards protecting our common home,” said the bishops’ letter.
The joint letter was signed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., chair of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. They characterized the legislation as “an important bipartisan step for protecting the environment and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.”
Bishops Dewane and Cantu stressed the Catholic Church’s consistent emphasis on “the importance of pursuing environmental solutions that are beneficial to all people.” They cited Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si,” which stressed the urgent need for policies to reduce carbon dioxide and other polluting gases. During his September 2015 visit to the U.S., the Pope encouraged the U.S. Congress to work to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”