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Mercy Deeply Concerned About Rollback of Regulations to Reduce Carbon Emissions

March 28, 2017

The Sisters of Mercy Institute Leadership Team has consistently called for government policies to address climate change from our deep commitment to reverence Earth and to work more effectively toward the sustainability of life. We are therefore compelled to express our deep concern regarding President Trump's roll back of regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Especially disturbing is the order to rewrite the Clean Power Plan implemented as a blueprint for reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants by nearly 30 percent from 2005 levels. It was the mechanism for the United States to meet its carbon emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement.

Also we share great concern regarding measures to accelerate fossil fuel production on federal lands and the refusal to take into consideration the impact of climate change in government decision-making. Added to this are budget proposals that drastically cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, close the environmental justice office within the EPA and weaken climate science research.

“Our sisters in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines who are experiencing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating storms have been calling on us in the United States to urge our government to take strong measures to address climate change,” said Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “This order ignores the cry of the Earth, our common home, and the cry of the most impacted peoples, including here in the United States, where low-income communities of color are disproportionately located near polluting industries that contribute to climate change.”

Sister Patricia was among 125 Catholic leaders who signed a letter to President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, House and Senate leaders and governors of all 50 states urging support for the Clean Power Plan’s carbon-reduction goals. More than 400 Mercy advocates were among 15,000 Catholics who signed a petition to President Trump urging him to honor the Paris climate agreement and support the Clean Power Plan.

These actions are consistent with the leadership of Pope Francis, who in his groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, named climate change “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

It is now the responsibility of members of Congress to publicly acknowledge the urgency of addressing climate change and to work in a bipartisan way to find bold solutions that will leave a stable climate for future generations. Congress also must stand against proposals to gut environmental protections and scientific research through deep budget cuts.  Contact your members of Congress now.

The Institute Leadership Team is encouraged by a Republican-led resolution introduced in the House of Representatives that acknowledges the need to address climate change, and by the growing number of members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. Mercy sisters and advocates will be urging their legislators over the coming months to join these and other efforts to bring attention to the need for climate action.

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