By Jonathan Luxmoore Catholic Press Service | Posted on November 28, 2018
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) âAs government delegations around the world prepare for a United Nations December 2–14 climate change conference, Catholic organizations pledge to make the voice of the church heard.
CIDSE, a network of 17 Catholic development agencies from Europe and North America based in Brussels, joined other Catholic aid organizations in Katowice, Poland for the 24th United Nations Conference on climate change, which was to propose measures to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. .
“Over the past year, there have been fears of a loss of energy – this ambition and this commitment are deflated by the scale of the tasks ahead,” said Josianne Gauthier, General Secretary of CIDSE. “But we have been called upon by the world’s most vulnerable countries to make the bold changes needed to limit global warming – not by seeking the lowest common denominator, but by joining courageous action.”
The Canadian Catholic told Catholic News Service on November 26 that Catholic activists would pressure the conference to maintain a “comprehensive rights approach to climate change”, rather than simply focusing on “technical issues.”
Adriana Opromolla, international advocacy manager for Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of 164 Catholic charities, said Catholic groups “want an open and transparent dialogue about the global common good, not just a concern with the interests of some. country “.
âWhile governments must comply with global emission reduction targets, actors below the government level can also have a major impact with a common vision to reverse current trends,â Opromolla said. “What absolutely cannot happen is that we just carry on as usual.”
âWe have seen a growing interest in the Catholic Church as a moral leader and globally recognized authority, so I have no doubt that her voice will be heard,â she said.
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Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, will lead a delegation from the Holy See.
In an October 26 statement, church leaders from five continents called for the conference to be a “step on the path set in 2015” by promoting “urgency, intergenerational justice, human dignity and human rights. of man â.
They added that Pope Francis had demanded “rapid and radical changes” in his 2015 encyclical âLaudato Si ‘, on the protection of our common homeâ. They called on countries with high carbon emissions to âassume their political responsibility and meet their climate finance commitmentsâ.
The statement said the Catholic Church around the world is now supporting a “shift towards more sustainable communities and lifestyles,” including the divestment from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, and “rethinking the agricultural sector” to promote agroecology.
“We must resist the temptation to seek solutions to our current situation in short-term technological solutions without addressing the root causes and long-term consequences,” said the signatories, including Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, chairman of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Asia, and Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia, president of the Council of Bishops of Latin America. Their counterparts from Europe, Africa and Oceania also signed the letter.
The bishops’ statement was greeted as a “strong indication” of the global Catholic commitment to climate justice by Tomas Insua, director of the Boston-based Global Catholic Climate Movement, who said he was counting on political leaders to “rise to the challenge” when “every notch of the global thermometer is a tragedy for the most vulnerable.”
Gauthier also praised the declaration’s support for “profound societal change”, adding that Catholic experts would work with representatives of other religions in Katowice to “make noise and instill hope” around the common goals of ” justice, dignity and protection of creation “.
âI think there is a thirst for a different kind of speech now, something less technical and with a more human face. This is where churches and religious communities can offer vital help, âshe added.
A statement from the UN website said the main goal of the conference would be to adopt implementation guidelines for the 1.5 degree limit adopted as part of a Paris agreement on change. climate change in 2015.
He added that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that net carbon dioxide emissions must reach zero by 2050 to meet the Paris target, thereby reducing ” risks to human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development “.
In a Nov. 22 report, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization said levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, had reached a new high, leading to sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme phenomena. weather forecast, with “no sign of trend reversal”.
A separate November 27 emissions report from the United Nations Environment Program tracked countries’ political commitments to reduce emissions and said they were lagging behind official targets.