Quick fixes, denial won’t stop climate change, pope says

| Carol Glatz | November 16, 2017 | 1 Comment
Climate change

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the COP23 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. CNS photo/Wolfgang Rattay, Reuters

Denial or indifference when it comes to climate change will not help further honest research or facilitate finding adequate solutions, Pope Francis told government leaders attending a meeting on implementing the Paris accord.

Ratified by 170 nations, the 2016 agreement marks “a shared strategy to tackle one of the most worrying phenomena our human race is experiencing — climate change,” the pope said in a written message.

The message was read Nov. 15 to those attending the COP23 session of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Nov. 6-17. The Vatican released a copy of the text Nov. 16.

In the message — addressed to the president of the COP23 session, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji — the pope said the Paris agreement is “a clear path of transition toward a model of low- or no-carbon economic development, encouraging solidarity and emphasizing the strong links that exist between fighting climate change and fighting poverty.”

The urgency of addressing climate change demands “greater commitment from countries, some of which will have to seek to take on a leadership role in such a transition,” which will also necessitate keeping in mind the needs of those who are most vulnerable, he said.

A recent U.N. Environment Program report found that current goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the agreement’s signatory nations will result in just one-third of the reductions required by global targets for 2030.

Closing some of that gap would require increased action in curbing emissions by private industries and regional governments, the report said, but even if countries were to reach their national targets, there would still be an increase of 3 degrees Celsius by 2100 — a number beyond the Paris target of under 2 degrees Celsius.

The pope said if nations are to continue to build and implement guidelines and practices that are truly effective and able to reach the complex goals of the agreement, their “willingness to cooperate” must stay high.

“We must avoid falling into these four grievous attitudes that certainly do not help promote honest research and sincere and fruitful dialogue about building the future of our planet: denial, indifference, giving up and trusting in inadequate solutions.”

Focusing on economic and technological solutions is necessary, but not enough, he said; ethical and social concerns and consequences of a new vision of development and progress must also be considered.

Pope Francis told leaders to maintain a proactive and collaborative spirit so they can better stimulate and increase awareness and the willingness “to adopt truly effective decisions” to tackle climate change and poverty, and promote true, integral human development.

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Category: U.S. & World News

  • Charles C.

    It seems that the Catholic News Service (CNS), the paper of the US Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has made a factual error. It’s unfortunate that The Catholic Spirit didn’t catch it, but they don’t have the staff to check everything.

    Radio Vaticana has provided the official translation of the Pope’s letter. Associated Press and every other news source I have found follows the official translation. For some reason CNS reports that the Pope wrote about four “grievous attitudes . . . denial indifference, giving up, and trusting in inadequate solutions.” Every other source (including the official translation) reports that the Pope condemned “Perverse attitudes,” not “Grievous attitudes.” That makes a huge difference. Perhaps CNS wanted to soften the Pope’s image? Protect him from appearing to claim that many people (including Nobel scientists) hold “perverse” ideas?

    I doubt this is the place to re-examine all of the pro and con arguments on the issue, but i would like to remind people that the questions are whether the earth is getting significantly warmer due primarily to man’s influence, whether that warming will cause serious damage to the globe, whether we know what the “ideal” temperature is, and whether it’s easier and less expensive to deal with any change than to try to reverse it.

    In short, that case has not been made.

    Consider, also, another of the Holy Father’s comments:

    “This will enable an acceleration of awareness-raising and consolidate the will to
    make effective decisions to counteract the phenomenon of climate change while at the same time fighting poverty and promoting true human development as a whole.”

    As has been noted by the UN itself, even if every nation completely followed the Paris Climate plan, we would only be one-third of the way to the UN goal. Perhaps the real purpose is “fighting poverty and promoting true human dvelopment” by those portions of the plan calling for nations with money to send billions and billions of dollars to poor countries.

    Catastrophic global warming has become more of a political issue than a scientific one. The solution called for, and one which the Pope appears to support, is massive transfers of resources from rich nations to poor and the creation of a body for global governance.

    His advisors have not done him any favors.