Pope's moral force aims to provide 'hint' to UN climate change negotiations

Pope’s moral force aims to provide ‘hint’ to UN climate change negotiations

He has used science to support moral messages about climate change. Now Pope Francis is hoping his historic presence in UN negotiations can help tip the balance in the crucial negotiations.

The 86-year-old pope, a champion of the poor who has made environmental activism a cornerstone of his 10-year papacy, will address the COP28 conference in Dubai on December 2.

It will be the first time a pope has attended the COP since its inception in 1995, and Francis will use the occasion to denounce countries’ lack of action and urge them to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Looks like he’ll try.

He could also play a role in rebuilding trust between countries vulnerable to climate change and wealthy, consumerist polluters.

“In a moment of global development as dark and difficult as the present, the presence of moral authority is more important than ever,” said Sverka Solin, professor of global environmental governance at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. ” he said. AFP.

“The pope may not be able to turn the tide in the talks, but it may be a ‘tipping point’ that nudges and pushes the negotiators in the right direction,” said Sorin, whose book the pope quoted. Ta.

Francis, the leader of 1.3 billion Catholics, more than half of whom live in developing countries, has long advocated the link between climate change and poverty, arguing that the world’s most marginalized people We are paying the biggest price for global warming.

– “Changing direction” –
In 2015, two years after naming his pope in honor of the patron saint of ecology, Francis decried man-made climate change and announced the “Laudato Si”, an unprecedented move for a religious leader. He published a ground-breaking paper called “Praise be to you.” We used science to do that.

Months later, progress was made at UN climate talks in Paris, with countries pledging to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to a safer limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius. I promised.

But the United Nations warned this year that the world was far off track, prompting Mr. Francisco to issue an impassioned follow-up.

In his Laudate Deum (Praise to God) released in October, he emphasized that the world we live in is “collapsing and may be nearing a breaking point,” and that some of the damage caused “It’s already irreversible,” he said.

Nevertheless, he wrote, the Dubai talks “could signal a change in direction” if countries commit to moving away from fossil fuels and securing clean energy sources.

Tebaldo Vinciguerra, a member of the Vatican’s environmental affairs office, told AFP that Dubai’s “central theme” was funding for a “loss and damage” fund to help poor countries hit by climate disasters. He said it would be.

Vinciguerra said Catholic communities around the world are speaking out about their struggles with pollution, limited access to drinking water, deforestation, encroaching deserts and extreme weather events.

Dubai’s negotiators cannot “act as if nothing has happened or only seek treatment for the symptoms,” he said.

Vinciguerra also said there is “a lot of work to do” in terms of globally understanding the world’s progress in reducing global warming.

– “Very important” –
Pope Benedict XVI began the Vatican’s environmental efforts in 2008 by installing solar panels in the Audience Hall.

Fifteen years later, the Vatican created the first Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in an effort to reduce emissions under the Paris Agreement, under which greenhouse gases would be reduced by 20 percent from 2011 levels by 2030. I promised.

Prime Minister Francis has developed an Ecological Conversion 2030 plan for carbon-neutral projects and technologies, including a switch to electric cars, but the tiny city-state’s contribution to global emissions is already negligible. has reached.

Earlier this month, the Holy See signed an environmental interfaith declaration with 27 others, including Chief Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. did.

In a sign of growing religious involvement in climate issues, this year’s COP will include a faith pavilion for the first time, inaugurated by Francis and hosting more than 65 sessions with religious figures, scientists and political leaders. .

“The Pope’s decision to take a deep personal commitment to the environment and climate was very important,” Sorin said.

Amid “alarming reports” that many countries are increasing, rather than reducing, fossil fuel production, “the pope stands out as an almost divine figure in a crowd of sinners.”

Source: guardian.ng

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