Friday, 27 November 2015

Pope Francis Calls for Strong Climate Agreement during Visit to UN Environment Programme Headquarters


Pope Francis Calls for Strong Climate Agreement during Visit to UN Environment Programme HeadquartersTransforming Current Development Models “Political and Economic Obligation”, Says Pontiff Nairobi, 26 November 2015 – His Holiness Pope Francis today called on world leaders to seal a strong agreement at the Paris climate change meeting next month, adding that transforming current development models was a “political and economic obligation”, as he visited the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi.  


Speaking to an audience of thousands, which included UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) Director-General Sahle-Work Zewde, Pope Francis placed particular emphasis on the need to adopt low-carbon energy systems and end the “throw-away culture” that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.   “In a few days, an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris ...

It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good,” Pope Francis said. “In this international context, we are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or to destroy the environment.   “COP21 (the climate meeting) represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy system which depends on a minimal use of fossil fuels, aims at energy efficiency and makes use of energy sources with little or no carbon content.

We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development.”   UNEP’s Emissions Gap report, released in early November, showed that the expected Paris commitments from member states will cut up to 4 to 6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year from global emissions in 2030. This, however, is 12 gigatonnes short of the level that will keep the world on track to stay below the “safe” limit of a 2°C temperature rise this century.  

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner praised Pope Francis’s moral leadership on the environment— which the Pontiff has already displayed with his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ calling on the faithful to embrace their responsibilities to the environment—saying it added global momentum to efforts to close this emissions gap and implement the Sustainable Development Goals.   “Addressing the world just a few days before the Paris climate conference, with the future of this planet hanging in the balance, you (Pope Francis) remind world leaders, business leaders and individual citizens that we each have not only a responsibility, but an obligation to act on what our conscience tells us to be right,” Mr. Steiner said. Read More...

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