Pope Francis Part of Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Teen's Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit
On Friday, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, on behalf of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the Leadership Council of Women Religious filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the constitutional climate change lawsuit brought by 21 young plaintiffs from across America.
The Catholic groups filed their brief promptly after Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Oregon granted defendant status to three trade associations, representing nearly all of the world’s fossil fuel companies. The Catholic groups filed the brief to make their views known that the youth’s legal claims are rooted in U.S. traditions and parallel Roman Catholic tenets.
Pope Francis is taking climate change seriously. How he's integrating science and religion: https://t.co/Yhu8pZJmVT https://t.co/3n3bSMCTUt— TED Talks (@TED Talks)1452701344.0
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is an international network of more than 250 Catholic organizations and individuals, including Pope Francis and Catholic bishops. The Catholic group is raising a strong voice in global climate change discussions, relying on the Pope’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. The Leadership Council of Women Religious represents leaders of more than 40,000 women religious across the U.S. and the world.
“As an organization inspired by the principles of Laudato Si’, the Global Catholic Climate Movement welcomes the opportunity to support the young plaintiffs,” Tomas Insua, Global Coordinator with the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said. “Laudato Si’ reminds us that ‘Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.’ By supporting this initiative, we join our voices with the young plaintiffs who are calling for climate justice and the protection of the atmosphere for generations to come.”
The Catholic brief details how youth’s constitutional litigation “seeks to establish precisely what Pope Francis has urged in Laudato Si’: a ‘legal framework which can set clear boundaries’ for greenhouse gas reduction—before it is too late.” Both groups state that, by including the public trust doctrine as part of their case, the young plaintiffs invoke the same moral imperative that motivates the religious work they do. For Global Catholic Climate Movement and Leadership Council of Women Religious, the public trust principle of law mirrors a “sacred trust” based on the Church’s deep covenants of obligation towards future generations and to all Creation.
Speaking at the White House last September, Pope Francis urged action, stating, “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home,’ we are living at a critical moment in history.” The Catholic groups’ brief reiterates the words used by Pope Francis:
"It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us ... The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now ... We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels—especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas—needs to be progressively replaced without delay."
In their filing before Judge Coffin, the Catholic groups assert: “With so little time remaining to curb carbon dioxide emissions before the planet crosses irrevocable climate thresholds, [the] Court should enforce government’s duty to protect the children’s atmospheric trust before it is too late to salvage a habitable planet.”
“The Center for Earth Jurisprudence is honored to support the Amici in this case who stand in solidarity with the youth plaintiffs seeking future and intergenerational justice,” Sister Pat Siemen said. “The constant threats of climate change and increased GHG emissions assail the rights of nature, in this case, our atmosphere. We hope the court understands the message of Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Sí, where he states: ‘the notion of the common good also extends to future generations … Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.’”
“Our moral call to protect the common good (and not the profits of a selfish few) is clear in the Pope’s call to action,” 14-year-old plaintiff Nick Venner said. “The support of the Leadership Council of Women Religious, representing women who have been quietly at the forefront of every major civil rights movement and helping children and the poor, means a lot to me. To have our lawsuit championed by the Global Catholic Climate is so exciting—Catholics around the world uniting in calling for change that will support life, not death and pollution. I thank God for their support in our fight to save our nation’s climate.”
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<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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