The US bishops have given their enthusiastic support to the Waxman-Markey bill, a piece of legislation designed to address climate change, which Republican opponents have characterized as entailing “the largest tax increase in American history.”
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 proposes a complicated series of schemes known as “cap and trade,” ultimately imposing taxes on the carbon-dioxide emissions that are cited as a major factor in global warming. Even before the 1,200-page legislation was made available to Congress, the members of the House of Representatives received a letter from two leading representatives of the American Church, giving their strong endorsement for the bill.
Bishop Howard Hubbard, who chairs the US bishops’ committee on international justice and peace; and Ken Hackett, the president of Catholic Relief Services, welcomed the introduction of the Waxman-Markey bill. They criticized the legislation only because, in their view, it did not include adequate funding to protect the poor-- in the US and abroad-- from the bill’s economic impact. Bishop Hubbard and Hackett argued that “the funding resources committed to international adaptation fall fundamentally short of what is needed.” Their letter also suggested measures to protect churches and non-profit agencies from the adverse economic effects.