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Climate Change In San Diego: What's Faith Got To Do With It?

"Ram" Ramanathan meets Pope Francis during a Vatican meeting on climate change, May 2014.
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"Ram" Ramanathan meets Pope Francis during a Vatican meeting on climate change, May 2014.
Climate Change In San Diego: What’s Faith Got To Do With It?
Climate Change In San Diego: What's Faith Got To Do With It?
Climate Change In San Diego - What's Faith Got To Do With It? GUESTS:V. Ramanathan, professor of atmospheric and climate sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Emmet Farrell, retired priest, Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego Georgette Gomez, associate director, Environmental Health Coalition

San Diego faith leaders and environmentalists will discuss their joint objectives in facing the threat of climate change as part of the movement toward climate justice. The economic recovery is not seen to budge San Diego's poverty rate, a new numbers showed more seniors living in poverty. We will discuss an analysis of the census data. And as learning more about wine make you enjoy it more. That another questions for two local wine experts. I am Maureen Cavanaugh, PBS midday edition is next. First the news. From NPR news in Washington. On Pope Francis his first trip to the United States he was met with all of the pomp and circumstance afforded a global leader. No matter what religion you are, he has a message that resonates and it is important to hear him. She was among the spectators that Brian -- the lines the streets of Washington DC looking for a glimpse of the spiritual leader. His appearances today began of the White House an extended to an address to US bishops at another venue. Wide-ranging issues central to this churches relationship with US leaders. Climate change, and more compassion for immigrants and sex crimes against minors by clergy must never happen again. Pope Francis also called for greater compassion for migrants, migrant crisis underway in Europe, reporter Susanna George has been observing the situation as dozens of boats reached the store of the Greek island. Pardons were issued on health grounds, and those convicted and pardons. An English journalist and his partner, and the rights group said they were bogus accusations at this breading FOXNews and terrorism. They were convicted twice, the second time terrorism charges were dropped. The case caused international outcry, in Egypt. Some 18 other journalists remain in jail. That in fact was a report from NPR's reporter, speaking about the day before that he had traveled and pardons the journalist. In other news on the campaign gel, Clinton is proposing ways that would reduce the burden of unexpected medical bills covered under Obama care. Under her plan, Clinton says that patients would be able to make three Dr. visits without those doctors being counted toward the annual deductible. Republican Donald Trump has addressed minority business leaders in South Carolina, key primary state, Trump is trying to expand his support base, among minorities at a time when his critics say that his rhetoric is increasingly alienating them. US stocks have been trading moderately lower with the Dow Jones average down 30 points, NASDAQ of four points, and the S&P 500 down three at 1940. This is NPR news. Pope Francis called for climate injustices inspires and interfaith forum in San Diego. And will discuss who is facing poverty in San Diego. An analysis of the latest Census data. This is KPBS midday edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh, it is Wednesday, September 23. Here's some of the San Diego stories that we are following in the KBS newsroom. An investigation into the shooting of the San Diego police officer during the pursuit and subsequent shootout in May, has determined the officer was struck by friendly fire. Initially, police chief said that Tribune that officer may have been wounded during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. The city of San Diego was developed a timeline for fixing 85,000 damaged sidewalk locations. The repairs are expected to cost about $46 million, they will be Incorporated into multiyear capital improvement program that is in the works. And another body has been found in a burned-out home in Northern California, bringing the death toll to six. From to the states most instructive wildflower -- wildfires in recent history. Our top story and Midway -- at Midway edition. Pope Francis discussed climate change. The Pope said the climate change is a problem that cannot be left to future generations. Last spring Pope Francis issued a wide range encyclical, that encouraged swift and unified global action to reverse environmental damage and global warming. So, is climate change their and moral issue for Catholics. In response to the call for action, and interfaith forum for climate justice is being held in San Diego tomorrow night. Joining me is father Emmet Farrell, retired priest, Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and one of the organizers of the form. What makes climate change a moral issue. I think because it has a great effect upon the life of so many people. Not only here, in our city or even in our country, but around the world. And, the Pope is calling for a change in attitude. And lifestyle. And that makes it he says in one line that there it is no reform unless there is an anthropology to reform. A change in our way of thinking. Because that influences our way of acting. That is what he is coming for, he says in one line, essentially it is a moral or ethical or a spiritual problem. Because it deals with her attitudes and he is calling for a conversion and change. That is what makes it a moral or ethical issue. Now, father, the Pope has made this call to stop greenhouse gases, he is calling for climate justice. What does that mean. He distinguishes early on in the cyclical, that we do not have a number of different crisis is, it is one crisis because all of these segments in society are interrelated. Ecology is part of the economy, is a part of politics, is a part of society, is a part of spirituality. And we are intermixed in the DNA of that whole pie, are the poor and poverty. That is what I think he is trying to get to, that we have to think of this in a global vision, because it affects the whole world. He says right off, every person in this planet needs to be a participant in this. This is an opportune moment, this is not just human life, but with all life. Plans, animal, even resources of the world and our planet. I do not know about answering your question specifically, With climate justice, is the Pope urging that the world wealthy countries, think more about how they are actions are affecting the poor nations of the earth. Is that part of it? Yes. He says the economy really controls politics. And economy without politics is unjustifiable, I would add to that that ethics is unjustifiable. -- Politics without ethics is unjustifiable. He's not just making some little changes, that would help the ecology without taking in consideration about what drives the economy, which is production, consumption, and that leads to consumerism which has to do with the resources of the earth. Which says there is faults thinking that there it -- that it is unlimited which they are not. The spring a back to San Diego, and the interfaith forum -- let's bring it back to San Diego and interfaith forum will be held here tomorrow. This will open a dialogue, in terms of what Pope Francis is saying, he wants dialogue. I know they're not people that are in agreement with global warming, or the second part human activity. I would say to them, welcome to the dialogue. That is what we need. Otherwise, we lock ourselves in our own closet, with their own point of view, and we do not listen to others. So the forum is trying to bring together a wide spectrum of faith, traditions, but also labor, civic organizations, as white of spectrum as possible to open a dialogue which is very necessary in San Diego as it is everywhere. We are hoping to change people's way of thinking, on this problem, which he says is a moral or global crisis. The may have to think about a global solution. So how do you come about that, it sounds like mission impossible. For human sin might be impossible, but forgot it is not. So that's where you get back to the morality and the spirituality it is interval ecology. A new type of spirituality, and this is not just Catholic problem, or answer, it is all faiths. If you look at the forums speakers, there are about 10 from the Muslim community caught Catholics, Protestant, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, and then a wide spectrum of civic and labor. Joining us now is a man who has advised this group , and previous politicians about climate change. Dr. Benjamin Netanyahu professor of atmospheric and climate sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography thank you very much for joining us. Your message to Pope Francis that the poor is disturbed potion is Lee -- disproportionately influence by climate change. I was truly inspired and excited by it, one issue I wanted to add to your public listeners you might not know about it, the Pope took a long time to come to this. A year ago, he asked me and other economist, to talk to the leaders the world about this environmental issue. We want to congratulate the father to moving forward with this. First we concluded that climate change has become a huge ethical, moral issue. Because of our inaction. There are two issues I want to bring up. Carbon emissions, which is leading to climate change, we are affecting generations. The second moral ethical issue is, about 60% of the emissions come from the top 1 billion. While the bottom 3 billion are the poorest. Their contribution is only 5%, but they are going to be affected the worst. This is what we told Pope Francis after our meeting, in the parking lot outside of his residence, and what we concluded caught not just scientists but also social scientists, what we feel to solve this climate change problem requires a fundamental change in our attitude towards each other. And towards nature. And Pope Francis and the cyclical is one of the best most eloquent documents that I have read the puts the climate change problem in the context of humanity and human dimensions. Dr. Ramanathan , even as they talk about climate change, there are some scientists the say it is too late. As you just mentioned to avoid significant effects from a warming planet. What do you think the world can still do? It is definitely not too late, we have already put global warming up a degree and a half. That is going to have some devastating impact. But it gives us time to avoid catastrophic changes, and that is Ackley why Pope Francis today said -- that is exactly why Pope Francis said today that we need to solve this problem and a leader for future generations. I want to pose the question to you, as you reference religious denominations, who abuse their understanding of the Bible to strongly deny that there could be such a thing as man-made climate change. On either side of the question, is it really a good idea to get religion involved in what is essentially a scientific matter. I think it is essential. Pope Francis says a one of is lined, and I get this question myself, why doesn't the Pope say out of politics. He says it is not up to the church to make the political and economic decisions, but they are not to be left out of the dialogue. And he says in another point of his encyclical, that he says questions and I say -- he says questions and I say all other faiths, all of creation and to the creator is an essential part of their faith. Abuse begins when we ignore according to Pope Francis, that there is a higher instance. Because that gives us absolute power over my body, I can do what I want, and therefore if I can do what I want with my body and my life, I can certainly do what I want with creation. And that is the beginning of our abuse and where it comes in. We are back to the moral, spiritual undergrowth underlying of the whole problem. Do you think, father there'll -- father farrell, to get favorable reactions? I get people looking meaning I Tony that they do not agree, and I get those who to support me. I say I support that, welcome to the dialogue. It is hard to know, I gave a talk last Saturday in Spanish to a group, and I asked to be and what would you personally do, and they came up with the 3Rs, reuse, reduce, and recycle. That is on a personal level, but there is another level, which is more challenging. And that is the society level. What do we do to influence the thinking. We're going to bring about a global change in attitude, we've got to get to work. And that is going to be a long process, a hard struggle, that I think is where we need to use our faith platform and all others. He says at the end of the encyclical, this is the job of all the societies and the church. Speak to -- As you can hear there are many people who have and deeply inspired, and are beginning the work as he said, the dialogue about climate change and climate justice. As a speak -- as the Pope speaks to the U.S. Congress tomorrow he is expected to mention his feelings about the urgency of addressing environmental and climate in -- issues. You know what is been going in the Congress for years, about climate change. How do you think American politicians will respond to the Pope's message. I think in a very positive way really, because so far the public has heard from scientist, we had documented the problem. We know what to do, but it requires fundamental change. Scientist like me we do not have the authority to tell people to change their behavior, but the Pope has the authority. In the US, unfortunately, making this a Democrat or Republican issue it is not. And this is why Pope Francis, as a moral leader for the world, taking a strong position tomorrow, I personally think that we will have a transformation in public opinion. Well, I want to let everyone know that the interfaith forum on climate justice, will take place to more night at seven, at St. Paul's Cathedral, and will be covering the address to Congress live tomorrow at 7 AM. I've been speaking to Emmet Farrell and Dr. Ramanathan, thank you so much for joining us.

This week’s historic address by Pope Francis to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday has lawmakers of all political affiliations and religious backgrounds buzzing with anticipation as to what hot-button political and social issues the unconventional pontiff might address during that speech. Climate change is on the top of his list.


The reality of climate change is being felt all across California as the state deals with a fourth year of drought. San Diegans are also looking for solutions. In response to Pope Francis' call for climate justice, an interfaith forum will be held in San Diego Thursday night.

Emmet Farrell, a retired priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and a leader with the San Diego Coalition to Preserve our Common Home, said the interfaith forum is a way for the community to explore action needed in San Diego on climate change and its connection to social and economic justice.

On Wednesday, Midday Edition looks at Pope Francis’ stance on climate change and what it means to San Diegans with Farrell, Georgette Gomez with the Environmental Health Coalition and Professor V. Ramanathan with the University of California at San Diego.

Ramanathan is on Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a group of 80 scientists from around the world who counsel the pontiff on environmental science.

“We informed him that about 60 percent of the warming pollutants are due to the top consuming one billion people,” Ramanathan said. “While the poorest three billion people contribute only about 5 percent, yet they suffer the worst consequences of climate disruption.”


Ramanathan said California's ongoing drought could have a major impact on the state's poor.

"Many are farmers who depend on crop from small plots and cannot survive the mega-droughts and fires currently ravaging the state," he said.

Not everyone is excited to hear what the Pope has to say about climate change. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) announced plans to boycott Francis’ speech.

“If the pope wants to devote his life to fighting climate change, then he can do so in his personal time,” Gosar said.

The interfaith forum on climate justice starts Thursday at 7 p.m., inside the Great Hall of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, on 2728 Sixth Avenue in San Diego.