CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Climate change demands action now pope tells energy executives

VATICAN (CNS): “We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward or of prioritising short-term economic benefits. The climate crisis requires our decisive action, here and now,” Pope France told energy and oil executives and global investors on June 14 at the Vatican.
 
They were taking part in a June 13 to 14 conference on Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home, sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the United States of America.
 
“Time is running out! Deliberations must go beyond mere exploration of what can be done and concentrate on what needs to be done from today onward,” the pope said.
 
It was the second private meeting—the first was in June 2018—aimed at dialogue with invited executives of leading energy, petroleum and natural gas companies, global investment firms, climate scholars and academics.
 
Organisers said that participants this year included CEOs from Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.
 
Pope Francis thanked participants for returning for the second meeting, saying it was “a positive sign of your continued commitment to working together in a spirit of solidarity to promote concrete steps for the care of our planet.”
 
The dialogue was taking place during a “critical moment,” he said, because “today’s ecological crisis, especially climate change, threatens the very future of the human family, and this is no exaggeration.”
 
Citing his encyclical, Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home, the pope said, “For too long, we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis and ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain’.”
 
It would be grossly unfair for future generations to inherit “a greatly spoiled world,” the pope said. “Pardon me if I want to underline this: They, our children, our grandchildren, should not have to pay, it is not right that they pay the cost of our irresponsibility.”
 
All dialogue and action must be rooted in the best scientific research available today, he said, pointing particularly to last year’s special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
 
“That report clearly warns that effects on the climate will be catastrophic if we cross the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius” above pre-industrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement goal, the pope said.
 
The report, which outlined detailed ways to limit global warming, warned that “only one decade or so remains in order to achieve this confinement of global warming,” he added.
 
“Faced with a climate emergency,” the pope said, “we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations. We must take responsible actions bearing in mind their impact in the short and in the long term.”
 
Recognising that “civilisation requires energy,” he said that it is also important that energy use not destroy civilisation.
 
“A radical energy transition is needed to save our common home,” he said, adding that the Catholic Church is “fully committed to playing her part.”
 
The pope said, “There is still hope and there remains time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, provided there is prompt and resolute action.” 

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