The Record » Bishops from around the world plead for climate change action

The presidents of the US and Canadian bishops conferences have this week joined leaders of the regional bishops conferences of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Europe in signing an appeal for government leaders to reach a “fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement” at a summit in Paris.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, signed the appeal on 26 October at the beginning of a joint news conference at the Vatican.

The appeal, Cardinal Gracias said, was a response to Pope Francis’ letter on the environment and an expression of “the anxiety of all the people, all the Churches all over the world” regarding how, “unless we are careful and prudent, we are heading for disaster”.

The appeal is addressed to negotiators preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. The bishops called for “courageous and imaginative political leadership” and for legal frameworks that “clearly establish boundaries and ensure the protection of the ecosystem”.

The bishops also asked governments to recognise the “ethical and moral dimensions of climate change”, to recognise that the climate and the atmosphere are common goods belonging to all, to set a strong limit on global temperature increase and to promote new models of development and lifestyles that are “climate compatible”.

The appeal calls for decisions that place people above profits, that involve the poor in decision making, that protect people’s access to water and to land, are particularly mindful of vulnerable communities and are specific in commitments to finance mitigation efforts.


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