The Jesuit Post is urging the imposition of a U.S. carbon tax to “disincentivize” the use of fossil fuels and “generate revenue” to address the negative effects of climate change.
The woke Jesuit order, which announced last February that its British contingent was dumping fossil fuel stocks from its impressive investment portfolio because of the fuel companies’ complicity in the “climate crisis,” is now pushing for a tax to punish those who consume fossil fuels.
“As Catholics, we care about climate change because Catholic Social Teaching exhorts us to care for God’s creation, and to make a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable,” declares Jesuit Daniel Mascarenhas, SJ, in an article Monday titled “A Catholic Case for Carbon Tax.”
Mascarenhas bases his case on the belief that climate change “threatens lives and livelihoods through hurricanes, droughts, famines, and rising sea levels” and that “poor countries that are low emitters of carbon suffer the most severe consequences of climate change.”
What Mascarenhas fails to mention is that the air quality in developed nations is far better than that of many poorer nations, whose citizens suffer the devastating effects of air pollution, which is the greatest environmental risk to health today, estimated to contribute to nine million premature deaths every year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nine out of ten people worldwide are now breathing unsafe polluted air, a phenomenon that overwhelmingly affects poorer nations and has nothing to do with “climate change.”
According to the WHO, approximately 91 percent of the millions of deaths from air pollution “occurred in low- and middle-income countries,” the greatest number in the “South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.”
According to a sweeping 2018 study, the United States has an extremely low level of air pollution, with an average PM2.5 concentration of just 9.1 μg/m³, as opposed to Indonesia (42.0 μg/m³), Nepal (54.2 μg/m³), India (72.5 μg/m³), or Bangladesh (97.1 μg/m³).
In fact, the study found that the air in the United States is cleaner than that of France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, and a host of other countries.
As a point of reference, the WHO recommends an annual mean exposure threshold of 10 μg/m³ to minimize the risk of health impacts from PM2.5.
In a major 2017 study, the U.K.-based Lancet journal found that pollution-related diseases were responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths in 2015, or about 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence combined.
Pollution is not only the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, the study found, but diseases caused by pollution were responsible for roughly 16 percent of all deaths worldwide — “three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.”
While to date there has not been a single documented case of a person being killed by carbon dioxide related “global warming,” real pollution, especially of the air, is killing an average of 25,000 people every day across the globe.
In other words, taxing the emissions of carbon dioxide — a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas — while making a good show of virtue-signaling, makes no sense when what is actually killing people around the world is a high concentration of fine particulate matter in the air.
If the Jesuits really want to apply Catholic Social Thought and save lives, rather than aping progressive political slogans, they might want to address the real crisis of air pollution in the world rather than tilting at the windmill of climate change.
But, of course, this common sense approach does not play well in the rarefied halls of progressive academia, especially among those whose real — though undeclared — goal is to undermine America’s newfound energy independence under the guise of helping the poor.