Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

POPE-CLIMATE (UPDATED) Nov-28-2011 (700 words) xxxi

Pope urges international agreement on climate change


(CNS/Paul Haring)

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged international leaders to reach a credible agreement on climate change, keeping in mind the needs of the poor and of future generations.

The pope made the remarks at his noon blessing at the Vatican Nov. 27, the day before officials from 194 countries were to begin meeting in Durban, South Africa, to discuss the next steps in reducing greenhouse gases and stopping global temperatures from rising.

"I hope that all members of the international community can agree on a responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, keeping in mind the needs of the poorest populations and of future generations," the pope said.

The meeting, which runs until Dec. 9, is the latest in a series to consider follow-up action to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which obligated industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount. The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012, and the Durban encounter is considered crucial in forging an additional commitment period.

The goal of the talks organized by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is to cut greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2050 and prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, was leading a 20-person Caritas delegation to the Durban talks to press for an agreement on behalf of poor countries that have been severely impacted by climate change.

"Our climate is changing. Caritas organizations are responding to increasing unpredictability and extreme weather conditions experienced around the world. This year we saw floods in Central America, South and Southeast Asia and drought across East Africa," Cardinal Rodriguez said in a statement released by Caritas.

"Urgent action is necessary. Climate negotiators in Durban must not further delay agreeing to international legislation to curb the threat of climate change and set the world on a path to a more just and sustainable future," he said.

In 2011, East Africa suffered the worst drought in half a century. Caritas noted that drought was not new in East Africa, but said changes in weather patterns combined with lack of investment, competition for land and water have eroded the capacity of local people to cope.

"The whole world is vulnerable to climate change, but poor countries are affected more," Cardinal Rodriguez said. "Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change. Africans are taking a stand in Durban; it is time for the world to stand with Africa."

Before leaving for Durban, Cardinal Rodriguez took several thousand young Italian members of a Franciscan environmental group to the Vatican for a lively encounter with the pope.

The pope told them that the church's teaching on the environment follows from the principle that men and women are collaborators with God and his creation. The lessons of responsible stewardship over natural resources are increasingly important, he said.

"In fact, it is by now evident that there is no good future for humanity or for the earth unless we educate everyone toward a style of life that is more responsible toward the created world," he said.

He said education toward environmental responsibility must begin in families and schools and must reflect the church's teaching that respect for the human being -- in all stages of life -- goes hand in hand with respect for nature.

In a pastoral letter, the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference asked people to urge South Africa's government, which is chairing the Durban meeting, to support resolutions "based not on immediate economic needs only, but on the survival needs of future generations."

Noting that South Africa is the world's 13th-highest global emitter of carbon dioxide, the bishops said the country should pledge "much higher targets of renewable energy production by phasing out coal and nuclear production and by developing the job creation potential of renewable energy."

The bishops also called on people "to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using your own properties productively to grow trees that will absorb carbon dioxide, to grow vegetables and crops organically to reduce the use of chemical-based fertilizers, and to share the food thus grown with the hungry and malnourished in your midst."

- - -

Contributing to this story was Bronwen Dachs in South Africa.

END


Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250