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Archbishop Paul S. Coakley addressing the Assembly of Catholic Professionals in November 2019.YouTube screenshot

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned a recent Supreme Court ruling which limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

In a July 1 statement, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, criticized the Supreme Court for a decision which he said would negatively impact the “threat and challenges of climate change.”

On June 30, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision sharply curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power to push “green” energy policies instead of the much attacked fossil-fuel energy.

READ: Supreme Court sharply curbs EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, stated: “Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day’,” but he added that it would not be “plausible” for Congress to give the EPA the autonomy to developed “its own” scheme.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Roberts wrote.

Archbishop Coakley criticized this decision of the court, writing that “the Catholic bishops of the United States have long-supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to address climate change.”

Repeating a 2018 statement from the USCCB, Coakley wrote that “the EPA has ‘both the statutory authority and responsibility to take regulatory action… It is hard to foresee a scenario, under current economic and technological conditions, in which the EPA faithfully carries out its mandate to protect the public health from greenhouse gases without significantly affecting political and economic realities’.”

The archbishop wrote that the USCCB was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying that the EPA would thus have “significantly restricted authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.”

Outlining the USCCB’s environmental concern, Archbishop Coakley expressed support for “reasonable regulation and legislation” which, he said, “are critical for addressing the threat and challenges of climate change.” 

“We call upon Congress to give the EPA the necessary authority to meaningfully regulate greenhouse gases,” he added.

Environmental and “climate change” policies have been a growing issue in the USCCB. While Archbishop Coakley referenced the USCCB’s long support for the EPA’s regulation of “greenhouse gases,” only a few months ago Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle oversaw the sale of four of the archdiocesan properties to build “an inspiring carbon-neutral community.” 

The properties were sold to Westbank, a global real estate development company described as “one of the largest net zero carbon developers in the world,” whose plans for the development employed terminology made famous by the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab in his “Great Reset” project. Westbank added that “the clearest example and most obvious existential threat to humanity is climate change and the destruction of the environment.”

Pro-life and family advocates have continually expressed concern over the climate activism movement, as it is often aligned with pro-abortion and population control advocates and lobby groups. Others say much of climate activism about garnering government grants and exerting statist power.

Pope Francis has been a consistently vocal advocate for the environmental policies of the Paris Agreement, which is at its core pro-abortion, and connects to the stated U.N. goal of creating a universal right to abortion in line with Goal #5.6 of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. That goal reads: “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” which is phraseology commonly used to mean abortion and contraception.

Australian Cardinal George Pell took issue with the Pope’s support for such policies and criticized Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato si, saying that the Church “has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters.” Cardinal Pell has received much media backlash over the years for rejecting the ramped up fears of “climate change.” 


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