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San Diego Catholic Leaders Get Grim Picture On Climate Change From Scripps Scientist

A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs near the town of Kulusuk, in...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs near the town of Kulusuk, in eastern Greenland, Aug. 15, 2019. Greenland's ice has been melting for more than 20 years, but in 2019, it's as if Earth's refrigerator door has been left open, and it means a potentially large rise in the world's sea levels.

Members of San Diego’s Catholic community gathered at the San Diego Diocese headquarters building last Wednesday to hear about global warming from a prominent San Diego researcher.

The message delivered at the was sharp and stark.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Veerabhadran Ramanathan laid out the immediate future as the planet's climate changes.

It was a grim picture for the priests and lay leaders who came to hear him speak.

Ramanathan said the earth is covered in a blanket of carbon dioxide and that is warming the planet. He said 3 billion of the world’s poorest people will bear the direst effects of early climate change.

RELATED: Report: Wildfires Cutting Into Greenhouse Gas Reductions

The scientific community has come to the conclusion that climate change is a disaster, according to Ramanathan, who went on to say, scientists know what to do about it but they do not know how to go about it.

Ramanathan called for an alliance between science, religion and policy.

The message struck a receptive chord with San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy.

The head of the San Diego Catholic Diocese just returned from the Amazon Synod where that region’s environmental challenges where discussed.

“Overwhelmingly the scientific community and the world has concluded that climate change poses a tragic challenge to the whole of the human race in the coming years. That we’ve got to act now,” McElroy said.

RELATED: Melting Arctic Ice Caps May Speed Up Global Warming

San Diego has not taken up the issue with the alarm that is warranted.

“The problem is the world, and our society here in San Diego, all of us, have not taken up that challenge with a sense of alarm,” McElroy said. “With the sense of a limited time horizon. And most of all with the sense that if we don’t act in the next ten years, we are robbing the future, of future generations. We’re just taking it away from them.”

McElroy said the church has a responsibility to help the poor people how will be among those most severely affected by climate change.

Rob Taylor of Poway was in the audience. He said people in the first world have a responsibility to those in the third world because poor people will endure the consequences of climate change much faster.

“I think its really important to meld Christianity and science to make sure we are good stewards of our world,” Taylor said.

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Aired: November 4, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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