In response to the opinions of Tom Sheahen and Louie Verrecchio (CR, Dec. 6), contrary to popular “conservative” media, climate change has been definitively connected with human burning of fossil fuels. This has been substantiated by reputable scientists from around the world, not only from those of the IPCC. Most of the skepticism has been generated by non-peered studies funded by the oil industry, and therefore clearly non-objective.
Carbon dioxide has steadily increased in the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution. We are seeing climate changes that are outside the norms of planetary cycles. Due to hemispheric weather patterns, the northern and southern hemispheres are affected differently, and in more ways than just temperature. A lot less sound evidence was used for the basis for going to war with Iraq.
The U.S. bishops, in their latest statements on the subject, rightly defer to the scientific community and its conclusions for scientific assessment. In my recent commentary on “Faithful Citizenship,” I cite the bishops’ admonition that we have neglected our responsibility for environmental stewardship. Climate change is indeed an issue for scientists, and a moral issue for the entire human race.
Further, the Vatican’s recent statement calling for prudence in taking action to protect the environment must not be misconstrued as a call for complacency. We’ve had over three decades since climate change was first identified to study and address climate change, with very little to show for it. As the Holy Father stated himself, “The problems looming on the horizon are complex and time is short.”
Catholics, and the public at large, should refrain from making inaccurate assessments regarding climate change. We can quibble over how much the temperature will change, or how much the water will rise. The bottom line is that we must accept the fact that we cannot simply continue to burn our resources and threaten the future for our children and grandchildren.