RICHMOND — On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Virginia Bishops Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington and Barry C. Knestout of Richmond signed the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration, a document supporting the call to take prudent action to protect the global climate, which Pope Francis noted was “a common good, belonging to all and meant for all” (Laudato Si’, no. 23).
According to a release from the Virginian Catholic Conference, they join the list of more than 788 members of Catholic dioceses and institutions in over 40 states who agree to support climate goals to reduce emissions worldwide and avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The declaration is an initiative promoted by the Catholic Climate Covenant.
In their 2015 “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” statement, the U.S. Catholic bishops note, “Care for Creation is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. We must answer the question that Pope Francis posed to the world: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’ (Laudato Si’, no. 160).”
The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It calls for a reduction in emissions worldwide to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The agreement has been signed by 195 UNFCCC members. Hundreds of organizations have expressed support for the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.