Catholic leaders unveil 10-point climate action list ahead of UN summit

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Cardinal Oswald Gracias, center front, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, signs the climate change appeal on Oct. 26, 2015 at the Vatican. Photo courtesy of CIDSE

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, center front, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, signs the climate change appeal on Oct. 26, 2015 at the Vatican. Photo courtesy of CIDSE

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Catholic leaders made a rare appeal to the world’s politicians on Monday (Oct. 26), urging them to take strong action at the highly-anticipated U.N. climate change summit later this year.

Nine cardinals, patriarchs and bishops representing the Catholic Church across five continents signed a document, presented at the Vatican on Monday (Oct. 26) by clergy from Belgium, Colombia, India and Papua New Guinea.

The document presents a 10-point policy proposal calling for “a fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement.”

The U.N. conference on climate change meets in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, and the Catholic leaders would like to see it take action on all 10 items.


READ: Who won? Who lost? 5 points on the contentious Vatican summit


The Catholic Church’s push for climate change action follows the release in June of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, in which he took a tough line against world leaders for their inaction thus far.

The churchmen asked delegates to the conference to “strongly limit” global temperature increase and set a goal for complete de-carbonization by mid-century.

They also pushed for “climate compatible” lifestyles and said the people most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming must be included in the decision-making process.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India said at a news conference that the 10 points marked a “historic occasion” that expressed the urgency posed by climate change.

“The Holy Father has expressed the anxiety of us all,” Gracias said.

Gracias blamed past failures to reach an adequate climate change agreement on the attitude of governments, which he said think only of their relatively short terms in office rather than the years thereafter.

Gracias said it would be up to governments to present their specific commitments, while the signatories of the appeal chose to leave the precise science “to the experts.”

YS/LM END SCAMMELL

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  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    This is a scandal.

    First of all, the globe is not warming. According to the satellite data, the earth has just entered its 21st year with NO WARMING.

    Second: The bishops make themselves ridiculous by calling carbon dioxide a “toxic gas.” This “toxic gas” is PLANT FOOD. Without this “toxic gas,” there would be not one living thing on earth. Some “toxic” gas that is.

    Third, even partially (let alone totally) “decarbonising” the world’s economy will, according to Lord Christopher Monckton, KILL about 100,000,000 people annually– a billion people DEAD by 2025, through heat, cold, and starvation.

    Fourth, ELIMINATING the human race will not reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a negligible, inconsequential amount.

    Fifth, the most powerful “greenhouse gas” would remain: WATER VAPOR. Try banning water vapor.

    These bishops are fools. Dupes. And public menaces.

  • Fr. Ftizpatrick: Please double check your facts. They are all wrong. You’ve misstated satalite data. Too much CO2 heats up the earth as it has done at least 5 times during earth’s history. Water helps plants grow too–try overwatering your plants. Some plants grow better with increased CO2, others do not, but most all do worse when it heats above 90 degrees when photosynthesis starts to shut down. Monckton has been widely debunked. Decarbonization will not harm the world economy — wind and solar contracts to produce electricity are now being signed for under 5 and 4 cents a kWh, so coal, nuclear and natural gas cannot compete. The water vapor and inconsequential amount of CO2 reduction arguments of climate deniers have been widely debunked. See http://www.realclimate.org for comment by real climate scientists. In order to call the Bishops fools, you have to include 97% of climate scientists, leaders of all major religions.