Pope to add a moral dimension to climate change

Support for United Nations efforts to slow climate change is becoming a moral issue.

Proponents of U.N. action are awaiting  an encyclical from Pope Francis in the hopes that it rallies the Catholic faithful to the cause.

The encyclical takes the form of a letter to bishops urging certain actions. The pope said he would issue the message Thursday.

The Argentine pope, who is widely seen as a leftist, has been a supporter of United Nation’s causes, including  food security. The pope spoke Thursday to a U.N. conference. He urged consumers to decisively commit to modified lifestyles and sustainable living, according to a U.N. news report.

Costa Rica is at the forefront of climate change politics. Christiana Figueres is the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

The pronouncements on climate change are likely to increase as governments move toward a December conference in Paris, France, where actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will be proposed.

Also Thursday, Guy Ryder, the head of the International Labour Organization, opened a summit meeting devoted to tackling climate change as a unique opportunity for job creation and economic growth, saying that up to 60 million jobs can be created in a greener, low-carbon economy if the right policies are adopted.

While some countries are struggling with persistent droughts, he said, others simply witness changes in the timing and rhythm of their agricultural and even their fishing seasons, affecting food production and security, and peoples’ incomes, he said according to a U.N. summary.

In Costa Rica, the issue brought together climate action proponents last week in San José. The gathering was part of WorldWideViews, which sponsored seminars in 79 countries.

The local organization, Costa Rica Limpia, said Thursday that 94.59 percent of those attending agreed that Costa Rica should pope061215take steps to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The organization also said that 88 percent of the participants supported some kind of tax on carbon dioxide emissions, although they differed on how it would be applied. Nearly half wanted to punish countries that did not reduce emissions and about a third would adjust the tax to the level of development in a country.

There were just 74 respondents in the poll but the totals were consistent with similar surveys in the 78 other countries.

Of course, the respondents were self-selected and proponents of climate change action because they attended the seminars. Survey results are HERE!

The involvement of the United Nations in efforts toward some kind of carbon dioxide tax or quotas tends to make some observers skeptical.

A recent Huffington Post poll said that  84 percent of U.S. Catholics  and equal percentages of Protestants and agnostics and atheists said humans have a moral duty to protect the environment, the publication reported.

Climate change has long been a morality issue in philosophical and intellectual circles. The actions of the pope are likely to bring the issue into popular culture.

Former senator and U.S. presidential candidate  Rick Santorum was critical of the pope’s proposed letter even though Santorum is a Catholic. The Pennsylvania resident has been expressing his view on various U.S. political shows.

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