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  October 8, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA

articles list

A Final Goodbye to St. Joseph the Worker School

GRIP's homeless shelter at risk of closing

Parish expansion in Pleasanton

Waiting to die, she prayed, survived Rwanda genocide

Fr. Donald Hudson
Sr. Marietta Conrardy, CSJ

Catholic Charities USA decries veto of SCHIP bill

'Reclaiming Fatherhood' movement helps men touched by abortion

Vatican says food, water must be provided to vegetative patients

Diagnosing persistent vegetative state not exact

Vatican official tells U.N. that climate change demands a cooperative international strategy

Church workers in Brazil wary of ethanol boom

Maryknoll's work in North Korea diocese honored

New online survey asks Catholics to rate quality of singing in church


Vatican official tells U.N. that climate change
demands a cooperative international strategy

During a program marking World Environment Day in Manila, two Filipino nuns plant trees in a field. CNS PHOTO/ROMEO RANOCO/REUTERS
UNITED NATIONS (CNS) — Addressing the United Nations, a Vatican official said climate change demands a new cooperative international strategy in order to avoid a “bleak future.”

“Climate change is a serious concern and an inescapable responsibility for scientists and other experts, political and governmental leaders, local administrators and international organizations, as well as every sector of human society and each human person,” Msgr. Pietro Parolin, Vatican undersecretary of state, told the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 24.

The Vatican, he said, believes protecting the environment is a “moral imperative” that requires collective action among nations.

All states have a “responsibility to protect our planet and ensure that present and future generations be able to live in a healthy and safe environment,” he said.

Solutions, he said, will necessitate not only technical adaptations but also a change in “selfish attitudes” toward consumption of resources.

Msgr. Parolin spoke during a one-day U.N. summit on climate change attended by representatives of more than 150 countries. Its aim was to build momentum and political consensus for a major U.N.-sponsored conference on the same topic in December in Bali, Indonesia.

Msgr. Parolin said the best scientific assessments have established a link between human activity and climate change, but that question marks remain.
Those uncertainties “should neither be exaggerated nor minimized in the name of politics, ideologies or self-interest,” he said.

Msgr. Parolin said the Vatican’s general stand on environmental protection falls between two extremes.

On one hand, he said, it is unsettling that some commentators think people should exploit the world to the full, with little or no regard for the consequences, using a worldview supposedly based on faith.

“We strongly believe that this is a fundamentally reckless approach,” he said.

On the other hand, he said the Vatican does not subscribe to the notion that humanity represents an irredeemable threat to the earth and that human population and activity need to be controlled by drastic means.

“We strongly believe that such assertions would place human beings and their needs at the service of an inhuman ecology,” he said.

Because no single country can solve the problem of climate change, the situation calls for a “coordinated, effective and prompt international political strategy,” he said.
This strategy should identify ways of alleviating and adapting to climate change — ways that are economically accessible to most countries, which enhance development and which foster a healthy environment, he said.

The economic aspect is key, since poor countries and poor sectors of society are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, he said.

Individual governments have a role in promoting environmentally friendly technologies through financial incentives, which can in turn send a positive signal to the private sector, Msgr. Parolin said.

He cautioned that reaching a consensus on climate change must be matched by an effective pace of implementation of any agreements.

“Unless our words are matched with effective action and accountability, we would do little to avert a bleak future and may find ourselves gathering again not too long from now to lament another collective failure,” he said.

He said the Vatican hoped the participating states would “seize the opportunity” to take concrete steps when they meet in Bali.

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