Thursday, June 18, Pope Francis released his long-awaited encyclical on the environment, a groundbreaking letter declaring climate change one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Dr. Dan Kammen, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner who also serves as a Senior Fellow to the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) initiative, launched by President Obama and administered by Partners of the Americas, was a contributor to the report and attended the Vatican drafting meetings.
“The Pope’s support in the fight against climate change is potentially life-saving for millions of at-risk people in impoverished communities all over the world,” said Dr. Kammen.
In a response letter to Pope Francis’s encyclical, Senior ECPA Fellows Dr. Dan Kammen, Jigar Shah, Dave Williams, and Dr. Suresh Garimella propose partnering with the Vatican to identify sites, churches, financing structures, and technology that can become a model of renewable energy across the Western Hemisphere before 2020. Climate change has hit the Americas hard – five out of the ten countries most affected by climate change are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the region may see some of the hottest rising temperatures in the years to come
The Senior Fellows’ professional expertise in clean energy technology would advance the goals of Pope Francis and allow them to reach more vulnerable communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Senior Fellows wrote to the Pope in their capacity as private individuals and not on behalf of ECPA or the U.S. Government.
In the 184-page letter, Pope Francis lays out the environmental, social, economic and political consequences of climate change – consequences that are disproportionately felt by the world’s poorest people. The content of the Pope’s encyclical may be environmentally game-changing – it illustrates a common goal between faith and science, one that has the ability to move religious communities to take action. When combined, Pope Francis’s leadership and the ECPA Senior Fellows’ expertise could make a powerful partnership in securing an environmentally clean and sustainable future for the Americas.
Partners of the Americas is an international network that promotes social and economic development in the Americas through leadership, voluntary service, and development programs. Its mission is to connect individuals, volunteers, institutions, businesses, and communities to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. Partners envisions an interconnected hemisphere that maximizes the social and economic potential, and leverages the full diversity, of the Americas. For more information, visit www.Partners.net.
This article was originally posted on the Renewable & Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL).