Climate change a problem we can’t ignore, Pope Francis says
VATICAN— Pope Francis sent a message Thursday to a conference on climate change, telling participants the problem is something that can’t be ignored, but must be met with a proactive desire to develop effective solutions.
“I would like to reiterate my urgent invitation to renew dialogue about the way in which we are building the future of the planet,” the Pope said Nov. 16.
“We need a solution that unites everyone, because the environmental challenge that we are living, and its human roots, involves and touches us all,” he said, noting that unfortunately many of the efforts to seek concrete solutions “are often frustrated by various motives that range from negating the problem to indifference, comfortable resignation or blind trust in technical solutions.”
Francis said we have to avoid falling into the “perverse attitudes” of denial, indifference, resignation, and trust in inadequate solutions, which “certainly do not help honest research and sincere dialogue on building the future of our planet.”
Pope Francis offered his words in a message to Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, for the U.N. COP-23 Climate Change conference taking place Nov. 6-17 in Bonn, Germany, and which is being presided over by the government of Fiji.
He noted how the gathering is taking place two years after the Paris Climate Agreement was reached, which reached a consensus on the need to develop “a shared strategy to counteract one of the most concerning phenomenons that our humanity is living: climate change.”
The Paris Agreement was an international climate accord reached in 2015 after representatives of more than 150 countries met for COP 21, or the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Signatories pledged on various levels to help reduce global carbon emissions and aim to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius, as compared to average temperatures from the pre-industrial age, by the end of the 21st century.
When the agreement was initially reached, Pope Francis hailed it as “historic” and said it would require “a concerted and generous commitment” from members of the international community. Over 190 countries have signed on to the agreement.
However, United States President Donald Trump decided earlier this year to pull out of the accord, arguing that the requirements would harm the U.S. economy and jobs.
In his message to the COP-23 conference, Pope Francis said the challenge of climate change requires the commitment of every country, some of whom “must try to assume a guiding role,” with due consideration for vulnerable populations.
He noted how in this year’s conference participants are trying to implement a new phase of the Paris agreement, which is “the process of defining and building guidelines, rules and institutional mechanisms so that it can truly be effective and capable of contributing to the achievement of the complex objectives it proposes.”
In coming up with solutions, the Pope cautioned against limiting them only to the economic or technical dimensions, because “technical solutions are necessary but insufficient.”
Rather, he said “it’s essential and desirable to also keep in attentive consideration the ethical and social aspects and impacts of the new paradigm of development and progress in short, medium and long-term.”
To this end, Francis emphasized the need to focus on an education and lifestyle that are based on an integral ecology capable of assuming “a vision of honest research and open dialogue” where the various aspects of the Paris Agreement are intertwined.
The agreement, he said, calls for “serious responsibility to act without delay as freely as possible from political and economic pressures, overcoming particular interests and behaviors,” and requires a “responsible awareness” of our common home.
Pope Francis closed his message voicing his hope that the work done in the conference would be animated by the same “collaboration and proactive” spirit of the COP-21 conference in 2015.
“This will accelerate awareness-raising and the consolidation of the will to make effective decisions to counteract the phenomenon of climate change while at the same time fighting poverty and promoting a true integral human development.”