We are blessed to have a pope who speaks to all the world about the prudence, justice and empathy required so that more people on our planet might enjoy integral human development. He invites us to live the ecological vocation of justice — in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi – prepared to engage with all comers anxious about the future of the planet and the plight of the poor.
– Fr Frank Brennan SJ
What do we believe?
All forms of life – plant, animal and human – have intrinsic worth, and are essentially interconnected and interdependent.
The conservation of Earth’s resources is vital for our own and the planet’s survival.
Future generations have a right to inherit a healthily functioning and bio-diverse environment.
There needs to be a balance between the priorities of environmental needs, and social and economic costs.
We are impelled by Catholic Social Teaching to take urgent action on the climate emergency facing creation.
What are the issues?
At Cop26, Australia refused to sign a pledge to cut emissions, refused to improve its 2030 targets, and dismissed calls to phase out coal.
The federal government continues to subsidise fossil fuel companies. It has granted approvals for new fossil fuel developments that will create millions of tonnes of CO₂ equivalent. This includes three new coal mines and a new major gas power plant in the Hunter Valley.
The climate crisis is causing:
- water, flood, fire, drought.
- damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
- mass fish kills and devastation of river systems.
What are the effects?
Australia is now ranked 60th out of 60 countries worldwide on the Climate Change Performance Index, (CCPI). The Australian government scored a zero (the only country to do so) for its policy response at Cop26.
Support for fossil fuels results in:
- over-consumption of energy.
- extreme weather events.
- misuse of government funding.
- displacement of populations.
- decreased water security.
- tropical diseases.
What do we want?
- A commitment by Government to introduce the necessary regulation and spending to keep warming to the 5 degrees stipulated by the IPCC’s sixth assessment report.
- A moratorium on new fossil fuel developments, and a strategic focus on wind and solar technology.
- Economic Policies to maximise zero emissions technology to achieve at least 50% reduction by 2030.
- Policies which are guaranteed to include the three essential prongs for ongoing progress:
- FINANCIAL SUPPORT
- GOVERNMENT ACTION
- Bipartisan, National Cabinet, and business collaboration to develop appropriate strategies and structures to facilitate the development to renewable, cost-effective energy, which are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.
- Financial support and training, employment opportunities in renewable industries and clear transition strategies for those workers, families and areas facing devastation when the coal industry is closed down.
- An independent national Environmental Protection Authority to promote regulation, better science and data collection, and a more strategic, transparent approach to environmental issues.
- Integration of legislation which ensures strategic planning development outcomes that are just and sustainable.
Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.
– Pope Francis.
This is an excerpt from the document Voting from the Common Good, prepared by the Justice and Peace Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. Download the full kit of social justice issues to consider at the 2022 Federal Election here.