Congress Should Heed Pope’s Message on Climate Change, Economic Justice

The labor and environmental leaders of the BlueGreen Alliance urged Members of Congress to heed the Pope’s message for action on climate change and to help address income inequality in the U.S. and across the world.

September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC (September 24, 2015) – Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress this morning. The labor and environmental leaders of the BlueGreen Alliance urged Members of Congress to heed the Pope’s message for action on climate change and to help address income inequality in the U.S. and across the world.

“Hopefully Congress listened to Pope Francis today,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “It is time for the United States to provide global leadership in addressing climate change, and to build a fair economy that creates good-paying jobs and environmental sustainability for American workers, families, and communities.”

“Pope Francis’ message that we have a moral obligation to act on the climate crisis, and that the climate is a ‘common good,’ cannot be ignored,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The climate crisis transcends borders and politics, and, this week, the Pope’s guidance and call to action will be heard across the nation, across faiths, and across party lines. We continue to be inspired by Pope Francis’ clear call for responsible stewardship of the earth.”

Yesterday, Pope Francis called on Americans to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world.

“All too often those who pay the highest price for climate change are those in low-income communities, people of color, the elderly and the sick,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “It’s time for Congress to stick up for all of our people, stand up to the dangers of climate change, and embrace the promise of clean, renewable power. This shouldn’t divide us, red and blue; it should unite us all, as Americans.”

“The time is now to heed the Pope’s call and move forward to invest in the necessary physical and human infrastructure to make the clean energy economy that supports family sustaining jobs a reality,” said Utility Workers Union of America National President D. Michael Langford. “Addressing climate change isn’t just a chance to do right by future generations. It is also our opportunity to build a stronger, fairer economy for all workers.”

Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton said, “We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action on climate change that will create good jobs and sustainable communities, and make our economy more just. We must join the Pope in his vision not only to take on climate change but to attack the cause of global poverty.”

Earlier this year, the Vatican released an encyclical that highlighted the urgent need for climate action. In it, Pope Francis wrote, “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.”

“The Pope called on Americans and the rest of the world to address the problems of our time with the urgency of now,” said Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The greater good must triumph over political ideology.  We must leave the world with a better future for our children.  It’s time to put aside partisan rhetoric and heed that call.”