Faith leaders seek consensus decisions on climate change
Church leaders noted that conversations between groups are key to developing a consensus-based approach
Climate activists gather with placards for a demonstration calling on the G20 conference to adhere to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, at the International Convention Center in Sharm el- Sheikh, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of the same name, during the COP27 climate conference on November 15. (Photo: AFP)
Vatican officials and other Catholic leaders around the world say the challenge of climate change requires a consensual approach rooted in solidarity, saying the failure of world leaders to come together and fully implement previous agreements is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet.
At the UN climate conference, COP27, faith leaders meet with various delegations from civil society groups, climate activists, experts and other faith-based organizations to deliberate on how to achieve climate neutrality – zero net greenhouse gas emissions. Church leaders noted that such conversations between groups are key to developing a consensus-based approach to decision-making in the fight against climate change.
Leaders at the November 6-18 climate summit were due to discuss and commit to implementing strategies such as funding countries’ emission reduction targets and setting new ambitions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But church leaders say world leaders have yet to make meaningful progress on those goals, and it’s time for them to act and save the planet from multiple climate hazards.
“There is no environment-related vision of all the discussions on climate factors that we received from the convocation,” Archbishop Nicolas Thévenin, apostolic nuncio to Egypt, told EarthBeat, the National Catholic environmental project. Reporter based in the United States. “Our role is to focus on the spirit of unity which should be there and dominate all the meetings and the topics discussed. We should also find a solution on how, as a church, we must fight against the climate change and share the same ideas with other groups attending this event.”
The Archbishop is the deputy head of the Holy See’s delegation, which for the first time has official representation at a COP summit since they began nearly three decades ago. Earlier this year, the Vatican announced that it had become an official party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Archbishop Thévenin said that the representatives of the Holy See would take advantage of their presence to discuss ways to combat climate change and push rich countries to compensate poorer ones for the losses and damages caused by climate change.
“The main framework in which we exercise our role as the Holy See is that we do not offer technical solutions, but sometimes we can make people come together and become part of the solution,” he said. he said, referring to the various discussions the delegation had. with different groups to find a solution to climate change.
The Archbishop said he believes the planet can avoid the worst consequences of climate change by bringing all stakeholders together and finding solutions to combat it.
“In order to solve this problem of climate change, we must be more dependent on each other, listen to each other and try to find common solutions,” he added. “Once we discover the approach together, we can see what needs to be done to prevent the situation from getting worse and make countries better places.”
At a November 10 side event hosted by the Holy See, Senegal and Madeleine Diouf Sarr, chair of the group of least developed countries at the climate conference, the archbishop pleaded with wealthy nations to work together and to find a solution to all climate problems. related issues and not to forget the vulnerable communities who suffer from the impact of polluting countries.
“It is imperative that we build bridges of solidarity. Those most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change urgently call for genuine support at this time of crisis,” Archbishop Thévenin said in his statement to Catholics at the Pavilion of the Senegal.
Different Catholic organizations present at the meeting shared his views and those of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, who had previously addressed world leaders, reminding them that everyone has a responsibility to act against climate change.
“We cannot allow this to happen. Climate change will not wait for us. Our world is now far too interdependent and cannot afford to be structured in unsustainable blocks of isolated countries,” Cardinal Parolin said in his speech on November 8. “This is a time for international and intergenerational solidarity. We must be responsible, courageous and forward-looking, not only for ourselves, but for our children.”
Aloysius John, general secretary of Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s international development and humanitarian organization, said Caritas would not give up on advancing its programs at the COP27 meeting or finding solutions to tackle the climate change that has severely affected communities around the world.
John told EarthBeat that Caritas’ main agenda is to continue to stand up for developing countries and vulnerable communities, who continue to bear the brunt of the consequences of the actions of wealthier nations. He said their push for the inclusion of loss and damage would ensure that wealthy countries responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions compensate climate-vulnerable nations.
“As an organisation, we represent the poor and vulnerable people around the world. Therefore, we want to ensure that the voice of the poor is heard,” he said. “Climate change is a very serious problem; in fact, it should be treated as a pandemic, because most poor people have been through serious situations and are in dire need of help.”