To underscore the moral imperative to tackle climate change, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked her religious beliefs at a press conference on Thursday.
Pelosi said limiting the severity of climate change is “a moral obligation for us to responsibly hand this planet over to the next generation.”
“To me, it’s a religious thing: I believe it’s God’s creation, and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards,” said Pelosi, who is a practicing Catholic.
Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is a strong advocate for action to fight climate change. President Biden, who like Pelosi is a Catholic Democrat, met with the Pope in late October and discussed their shared commitment to tackle climate change, among other topics.
Yet Catholic politicians who advocate for climate action, including Biden and John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, generally avoid tying their political positions directly to their personal faith.
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On Thursday, Pelosi was quick to add that you don’t have to be religious to be okay with his argument.
“If you don’t share this point of view,” she said, referring to her comments on Earth being the creation of God, “you must share the point of view that we have an obligation to future generations. . “
Pelosi was discussing Biden’s Build Back Better budget proposal, which includes significant investments to make the United States depend on clean energy and electric vehicles. The Speaker of the House hopes to get the bill through Congress before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The urgency is all the more acute as the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, also known as COP26, just ended last Saturday. Pelosi led a 21-member congressional delegation to Glasgow last week. During their visit, Pelosi and his colleagues consistently touted Build Back Better as a sure pass despite his uncertain future in the Senate.
“It gave us a lot of hope,” Pelosi said of COP26. “We had meetings at the highest level there and were inspired by what happened.”
“It has taken a giant leap forward, but we have to do our part, our fair share,” she added.
In Glasgow, Pelosi said she expected both chambers to pass Build Back Better by November 15, a deadline that has already passed. Prior to the start of the climate change conference on November 1, she had claimed she would move into October, in time to bolster the Biden administration’s ability to cajole more efforts to tackle climate change from other countries. But the bill was blocked in the Senate, where the Democratic centrists. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona refused their support.
Although the climate change negotiations have resulted in a more ambitious deal to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions than before, the Glasgow Climate Pact still falls short of its own stated goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C (2.2 ° F).
One of the main reasons is the reluctance of the rich countries that caused the climate crisis to quickly phase out their own emissions before expecting developing countries to do the same.
The United States is the world’s largest cumulative greenhouse gas polluter, and so its own urges for major developing countries like India and China to bring forward the dates on which they will phase out fossil fuels are weakened. by their lack of significant climate action to date.
In order to increase the prospects for success in Glasgow, the Biden administration has pledged to halve emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, a commitment that depends in part on moving from Build Back Better.
In order to close the gap between the actions promised so far and those needed to avert catastrophic climate change, the nations have agreed to meet again in a year. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable countries hope that large emitters will increase the ambition of their plans.
So, if Build Back Better is not successful, the United States will be in a very weak position to lead efforts to further reduce emissions at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, to be held there. next year in Egypt.