June 18, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the global responsibility to act on climate change, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, took to the Senate floor today to renew his call for the United States to lead in the effort to protect and preserve our environment for future generations. In his remarks, King cited the moral imperative of acting on climate change.
"Some of the reaction has been that the Pope should stay away from science and stick to morality and theology. […] I'm here this morning to say I believe that's exactly what he is doing,” said Senator King. “He is sticking to morality and theology – and that's why he's made the statement that he has. I have always viewed this issue in fundamentally an ethical and moral context. […] I'm convinced that the science is irrefutable – that A) something is happening; B) it's detrimental to the future of the country – of the world; and C) we people are largely responsible for it. But fundamentally, this is a moral and ethical issue.”
Today, Pope Francis released an encyclical on the need for the global community to take steps to combat the far-reaching effects of climate change. As a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, King has repeatedly called for the U.S. to lead in the fight against global climate change. He has previously spoken on the Senate floor about the practical effects and dangerous of a changing environment, including the impacts already being felt by Maine’s lobster and fishing industries.”
“We have an obligation to do unto others as we would have them do unto us – and so I welcome the Pope’s words this week as a valuable voice in an important discussion. And I realize that we will have differences about how to solve this problem. We’ll have differences about the exact dimensions of it. We’ll have differences about what the resolution should be and the technology that we should use and how we should get there and transition and all of those kinds of things. That’s perfectly legitimate,” Senator King continued. “But fundamentally, we have to think of this as a moral and ethical issue – as obligations that we owe to other people in this country, to other people in the world who have no voice, in the use of the resources that are being taken away from them, and particularly to the people that we don’t yet know who are going to follow us on this wonderful home that we’ve been given to steward, to preserve, to use, but to pass on in as good or better shape than we found it.”
Modern day encyclicals are letters circulated by the Pope to bishops, archbishops, and other members of the Catholic Church on a particular issue of importance. This encyclical is unusual in that it is meant for the entire global community, not just members of the church.