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Paris is a call for transformation

VATICAN (Agencies): Pope Francis called for a global and transformational agreement from the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in an address at the UN offices in Nairobi during his visit to Kenya on November 26.

The pope called for an agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation, orientated towards the attainment of three complex and interdependent objectives: mitigating the effects of climate change, combating poverty, and promoting the dignity of the human person.

On November 30, the day the Paris meeting opened, the pope added that it would be a tragedy if special interests were able to manipulate information and win out over the common good.

The Catholic News Service reported that the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, said in an address to the 150 heads of state gathered in Paris that any agreement must keep the three interrelated goals the pope spoke of to the fore.

Speaking on behalf of Pope Francis, he said that to be meaningful any global pact must have a clear ethical vision that recognises all of humanity as one human family and have no room for what the pope terms the globalisation of indifference. reported the cardinal as saying, “Faced with the urgency of a situation that requires the broadest collaboration possible so as to reach a common plan, it is important that this agreement be focussed on the recognition both of the ethical imperative to act in a context of global solidarity and of the common good, but differentiated responsibilities of all actors, in accordance with their respective capacities and conditions.”

He stressed, “It should not only identify the methods for its implementation, but should also and, above all, transmit clear signs to guide the behaviour of all the actors involved, beginning with governments, but also local authorities, the world of business, the scientific community and civil society…”

He added to his list countries with greater resources and capacity, saying they should set a good example by contributing resources to countries in greater need to promote sustainable development policies and programmes.

Cardinal Parolin cautioned that technology will not save the day, saying that teaching and supporting sustainable lifestyles is critical, as people must become more aware of their responsibility and that today’s lifestyles based on an unsustainable culture of waste have no place in new models of education and development.

The International Business Times reported the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, as telling the world leaders to “instruct your negotiators to choose the path of compromise and consensus. Bold climate action is in the national interest of every single country represented at this conference. The time for brinksmanship is over.”

Ban called for the building of “a durable climate regime with clear rules of the road that all countries can agree to follow,” stressing that Paris must mark a turning point.

“This is a pivotal moment for the future of your countries, your people and our common home. You can no longer delay. Let me be clear: The fate of a Paris agreement rests with you… History is calling. I urge you to answer with courage and vision,” he said.

Sukleash George Costa, a delegate from Bangladesh, told UCAN on December 3 that previous COP meetings had failed due to lack of cooperation from developed nations, which he says are most responsible for climate change, because of their excessive carbon emissions.

He also noted that the promised US$100 billion ($775 billion) climate fund for developing nations has never materialised.

“Addressing climate change is a question of survival,” the national coordinator of agricultural research for development at Caritas, wrote.

Costa goes on to say that the leaders of developing nations can no longer ignore the fact that people are crying and dying.

“They must take responsibility and make legal commitments to offer compensation for the damage they have wrought,” he said.

“The Paris summit is a call for justice and action. Addressing climate change is an obligation for all, especially developed countries,” Costa stressed.


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