To the editor:
While many rejoiced over our diocese’s commitment to climate change, apparently others were not as pleased (October 2007). We cannot understand why anyone would dismiss the reality and urgency of global warming.
Climate change and our influence on it are not, as both writers suggested, political issues. We all live on this planet together. Perhaps many Americans, who contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gases, are apathetic because they believe they can adjust to climate changes. Less fortunate are the billions living in undeveloped nations who contribute little to — but may be hardest hit by — climate change. Or consider the future of our children and grandchildren. As Catholics we are called to act on behalf of those lacking a voice, which includes those who will and are being affected by the tons of carbon dioxide we emit each day.
It is certainly not unthinkable that humans could be influencing Earth’s climate. Global energy use has reached unprecedented levels, and demand will inevitably increase as nations continue to grow and develop. We could spend the next few decades arguing about mankind’s role in climate change, but do we have that time? And what if we are wrong about our influence on the climate — can it hurt to tread more lightly on Earth?
The words of our Bishops are indisputable:
“The traditional virtue of prudence suggests that we do not have to know with absolute certainty everything that is happening with climate change to know that something seriously harmful is occurring. Therefore, it is better to act now than wait until the problem gets worse and the remedies more costly” (letter to Congress from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, February 7, 2007).
We must each decide to be part of the solution or remain part of the problem. Please choose carefully.
Drs. Elise and Patrick Ferree