SENATE RESOLUTION 244--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING THE ``LAUDATO SI'' ENCYCLICAL OF POPE FRANCIS, AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 126
(Senate - August 05, 2015)

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[Pages S6402-S6403]
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SENATE RESOLUTION 244--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING THE 
  ``LAUDATO SI'' ENCYCLICAL OF POPE FRANCIS, AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

  Mr. FRANKEN (for himself, Mr. Udall, Mr. Leahy, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. 
Merkley, and Mr. Sanders) submitted the following resolution; which was 
referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works:

                              S. Res. 244

       Whereas on June 18, 2015, Pope Francis published an 
     encyclical letter on the environment that--
       (1) declares, ``A very solid scientific consensus indicates 
     that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the 
     climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been 
     accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would 
     appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a 
     scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each 
     particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the 
     need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in 
     order to combat this warming or at least the human causes 
     which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are 
     other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the 
     earth's orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of 
     scientific studies indicate that most global warming in 
     recent decades is due to the great concentration of 
     greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides 
     and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.'';
       (2) states, ``If present trends continue, this century may 
     well witness extraordinary climate change and an 
     unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious 
     consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for 
     example, can create extremely serious situations, if we 
     consider that a quarter

[[Page S6403]]

     of the world's population lives on the coast or nearby, and 
     that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal 
     areas.'';
       (3) affirms, ``There is an urgent need to develop policies 
     so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon 
     dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically 
     reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and 
     developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is 
     minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still 
     a need to develop adequate storage technologies.'';
       (4) emphasizes, ``The deterioration of the environment and 
     of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet: 
     `Both everyday experience and scientific research show that 
     the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are 
     suffered by the poorest'.''; and
       (5) proclaims, ``Climate change is a global problem with 
     grave implications: environmental, social, economic, 
     political and for the distribution of goods. It represents 
     one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our 
     day.'';
       Whereas leading scientific organizations in the United 
     States have affirmed that human activity is the primary cause 
     of climate change, including the American Association for the 
     Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the 
     American Meteorological Society, the American Chemical 
     Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American 
     Institute of Biological Sciences, and many others;
       Whereas the U.S. Global Change Research Program's 2014 
     National Climate Assessment documents that, over the past 
     several decades, as a result of climate change, the United 
     States has experienced more frequent and intense heat waves, 
     record droughts, increased flooding in certain regions, 
     increased hurricane intensity, frequency, and duration, 
     increased frequency and intensity of winter storms, rising 
     sea levels, and other ecologically problematic trends; and
       Whereas if present climate trends persist, the effects of a 
     warming planet will become more catastrophic, as the 2014 
     National Climate Assessment states, ``Children, the elderly, 
     the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable. There is 
     mounting evidence that harm to the nation will increase 
     substantially in the future unless global emissions of heat-
     trapping gases are greatly reduced.'': Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate stands with Pope Francis and the 
     scientific consensus that--
       (1) human activity is the primary driver of climate change;
       (2) present climate trends are unsustainable; and
       (3) immediate action must be taken to significantly reduce 
     greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the deleterious 
     effects of human-induced climate change.

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