Fordham University has joined the Catholic Climate Covenant and a coalition of 30 Catholic dioceses, organizations and universities in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal standards on carbon pollution from power plants.

In the brief, the groups identify climate change as an urgent issue that must be addressed and outline the moral obligations around reducing carbon pollution and protecting the most vulnerable from the dangerous consequences of climate change.

The brief was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is currently reviewing industry challenges to the Clean Power Plan.

Tom Dunne, vice president for governmental affairs at Fordham, said when Fordham was approached by Catholic Climate Covenant to join the brief, it was an easy choice to make given the University’s involvement projects such as the New York City Carbon Challenge.

“Signing on to the amicus brief in support of the EPA regulations of electric power plants to cut emissions is the right thing to do.  We are poisoning our environment, our planet, our home,” he said.

“If as a society we can leave our children’s children fresh air and clean water, we will truly be remembered as men and women for others.”

Catholic Climate Covenant executive director Dan Misleh said that the Clean Power Plan, which was unveiled by President Obama in August and delayed by the Supreme Court in February until the Court of Appeals could rule on it, helps answer Pope Francis’ call to action in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si.

“The Clean Power Plan helps individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments alike to care for God’s creation and protect human life, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Misleh said.

“The EPA has issued compelling findings demonstrating that the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are a danger to public health and welfare. We must act with urgency. Last year—the warmest ever recorded—indicates that the climate continues to change at an accelerated pace. It is our moral responsibility to reduce the impacts of the climate change we have contributed to, and fulfill our duty to care for our common home.”

The list of signees to the brief includes several Jesuit colleges and universities, including Loyola University Maryland, The College of the Holy Cross, and LeMoyne College. The U.S. Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision expected later this year.


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.