Laudato Si and Climate Change Efforts

Laudato Si and Climate Change Efforts

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A grassroots volunteer group: Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Silicon Valley Chapter (CCL) held a forum at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on November 11. It was sponsored by the parish, Acterra, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action and CCL.

CCL’s presenter, Sudhanshu (Suds) Jain , said the group shared the encyclical’s concern about fossil fuels, (e.g. #26 “…substituting for fossil fuels…” and #165 “…needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”) and endorses the moral and practical obligation of developed nations to assist the poor and the poor nations with money and expertise.

Jain reviewed a list of damages associated with excessive CO2 and methane emissions: heat, ice melt, sea rise, health issues, extreme weather events, deadly Dungeness, refugees, species extinction, agricultural distress.

The consensus of scientific communities is that a painful measure of warming stems from CO2 and methane and their source – fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels (coal and oil) began to be used heavily during the world›s accelerated industrial development. They became and remain mega-valuable and gave and still give mega-profits.

Enter the Citizens› Climate Lobby and Pope Francis› encyclical. CCL now has chapters in almost every congressional district, working with majority party legislators in Congress for a «Carbon Fee and Dividend» law. The law would require a carbon pollution fee beginning at $15 per ton and increasing by $10/ton each succeeding year. The fee would be applied at the primary source of extraction (mine or wellhead). Fossil fuel imports would be charged at port of entry. The money collected would be evenly distributed to the U.S. population [one share per person (limit two); one half share to children (limit two); maximum shares three].

Returning 100% of the money to individuals would more than compensate for higher priced energy and goods for the lower 60% of income brackets. Since prices of renewable sources of energy are dropping and prices for fossil fuels would be increasing, the entire economy will rapidly transition away from fossil fuels.

There is a proven success in British Columbia. They introduced a carbon fee and dividend plan in 2008, starting at $5 and now at $30/ton. According to an article in the Atlantic dated Nov 16, 2015, “Fossil fuel use in British Columbia has since fallen by 16 percent, as compared to a 3 percent increase in the rest of Canada, and its economy has outperformed the rest of the country. The benefits of this approach are no longer theoretical.”