Bishop concerned U.S. won't meet carbon emission goals after Trump order

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn


(CNS) — President Donald Trump’s executive order calling for a review of the Clean Power Plan jeopardizes
environmental protections and moves the country away from a national carbon
standard to help meet domestic and international goals to ease greenhouse gas
emissions, said the chairman of a U.S. bishops’ committee.

executive order, signed March 28 at the Environmental Protection Agency, fails
to offer a “sufficient plan for ensuring proper care for people and
creation,” Bishop Frank
J. Dewane of Venice Florida, chairman of the bishop’s Committee on Domestic
Justice and Human Development, said in a statement March 29.

flanked by coal miners, said during the signing ceremony that his goal was to drive energy
independence, bring back coal-mining and manufacturing jobs, and reduce the cost
of electricity.

that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined Pope Francis in
supporting environmental stewardship and has long called for the U.S. to
curtail carbon emissions, Bishop Dewane said the order “means that, sadly,
the United States is unlikely to meet its domestic and international mitigation

USCCB has called for a national climate standard in recent years without
supporting any particular economic, technical or political approach.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, who preceded Bishop Dewane as committee chairman,
welcomed the Clean Power Plan when it was introduced in August 2015. He called
it “an important step forward to protect the health of all people, especially
children, the elderly and poor and vulnerable communities, from harmful
pollution and the impacts of climate change.”

The plan called for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power
plants by 2030 by about 32 percent from 2005 levels. It set targets for each
state to reach. Coal-fired power plants are the nation’s largest source of greenhouse
gas emissions.

Bishop Dewane suggested that an integral
approach involving various components of U.S. society can reduce power plant
emissions and still encourage economic growth and protect the environment.

“Many states have already
made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, and this
momentum ought to be encouraged and not hindered,” he said.

In his statement, the bishop cited Pope Francis’
encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” which focuses
attention on “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

“With this recent order,”
Bishop Dewane continued, “the administration risks damage to our air, our
waters and, most importantly, our people, particularly the poor and vulnerable,
without proposing a concrete and adequate approach to meet our stewardship
obligations as a nation.”

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