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As of the morning of May 13, 2015, more than 300 rabbis have signed a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, calling for vigorous action to prevent worsening climate disruption and to seek eco-social justice. The Rabbis were encouraged by the work of Pope Francis on the issue, in particular, the much anticipated papal encyclical on the environment due out this summer.
The letter is addressed: To the Jewish People, to all Communities of Spirit, and to the World: A Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis
Faith groups are mobilizing on climate change, seeing it as an existential threat to creation. Pope Francis will issue a papal encyclical on the environment this summer, which is expected to highlight both the need to reduce man-made carbon emissions, and for wealthy countries to help poorer nations deal with it, as they have done little to create the problem.
Meanwhile, the Church of England is putting its pounds and pence where its mouth is: The body that administers the worldwide Anglican Communion last week announced it is divesting from thermal coal and tar sands.
Islamic finance has played a major role in clean energy investment so far this decade.
Divestment from these most carbon intensive forms of energy is also good financial management. With pressure growing both from businesses concerned about how to operate in a world disrupted by climate change, and increasingly vocal popular movements, a price on carbon to discourage its use, is becoming more likely. Alongside this is the fact that renewable forms of energy – wind, solar, geothermal, and the like, are increasingly cost competitive. If the damages to health and the climate were factored into the price of carbon fuels, renewables would already be a clear winner.
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The Vatican Announces Summit on Climate Change April 22nd, 2015
Thanks to Catholic Rural Life for the information in this post.
The Vatican announced this week that it will host a one-day conference on climate change on April 28, featuring some of the world’s leading climate scientists. The conference is titled Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity and is subtitled “The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development.”
The conference will highlight “the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people—especially the poor, the excluded, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, children and future generations,” states a Vatican announcement.
The purpose of the conference, according to the Vatican announcement, is to help build a global movement across all religions for sustainable development and climate change throughout 2015 and beyond.
Besides climate scientists, the one-day summit will include participants from major world religions. The aim here, says the Vatican, is to “elevate the debate on the moral dimensions of protecting the environment in advance of the papal encyclical.”
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“Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing In A Climate-Challenged World” is a document produced by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), intended to catalyze discussion around practical solutions needed to speed the shift to low-carbon and sustainable energy alternatives. It is offered as an open invitation to companies, investors and advocates to share their gifts in the collective work to build more sustainable and climate-resilient economies, businesses and communities.
The Missionary Oblates, along with other ICCR members, are trying to limit climate-related risk by advancing research and dedicated investment in climate change solutions. These Climate Finance initiatives are being pursued by faith-based and socially responsible investors to propel the shift we need to a low-carbon economy.
What is lacking is a favorable policy environment that can ensure optimal risk-adjusted returns, which, investors, as fiduciaries, are required to achieve. As articulated in the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change (endorsed by 265 investors including ICCR, and representing $24 trillion in assets), private investment will only flow at the scale and pace necessary if it is supported by clear, credible and long-term policy frameworks that shift the risk-reward balance in favor of less carbon-intensive investment. For this reason, ICCR members are working with others in the investment community to press for the climate policy shifts that will unleash this flow of capital and drive clean energy investment. At the same time, members are seeking to educate the broader responsible investment community about both current and future climate finance opportunities.
Here are some examples of initiatives in which the Missionary Oblates have been active:
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Goodbye to Plastic Bags in Laredo Texas April 14th, 2015
Laredo, Texas has banned the use of plastic bags, after a nearly decades-long campaign by community based environmental groups. Fr. Bill Davis, OMI joins in this PSA video to alert people to the ban, which will start on April 30th.
The ban will prohibit single-use retail plastic bags with a less than 4 mil thickness, and single-use paper bags with a less than a 30-pound weight standard. Exceptions have been made for restaurants, fast food establishments, meat products, dry cleaners, newspapers, nonprofits, and foods that are chilled or frozen.
Each year, Laredo – a city of roughly 240,000 people – consumes an average of 120 million plastic bags, according to city estimates. The city is littered with plastic bags, and they have created a significant problem for the city’s creeks and storm drains, as well as the Rio Grande, the city’s only source of drinking water.
The Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), a non-profit that works with the Oblates in Laredo and now the JPIC Office, spearheaded the effort to clean up local waterways.