Bishops Representing Every Continent Call for Fair, Binding, Transformational Climate Agreement

via Vatican Radio:

The following appeal is issued by Cardinals, Patriarchs and Bishops from across the globe representing the continental groupings of national episcopal conferences. It is addressed to those negotiating the COP 21 in Paris and it calls on them to work toward the approval of a fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement.

Representing the Catholic Church from the five continents, we Cardinals, Patriarchs and Bishops have come together to express, on our own behalf and on behalf of the people for whom we care, the widely-held hope that a just and legally binding climate agreement will emerge from the negotiations of the COP 21 in Paris. We advance a ten-point policy proposal, drawing on the concrete experience of people across the continents, and linking climate change to social injustice and the social exclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable of our citizens….

Reliable scientific evidence suggests that accelerated climate change is the result of unrestrained human activity, working to a particular model of progress and development, and that excessive reliance on fossil fuels is primarily responsible. The Pope and Catholic Bishops from five continents, sensitive to the damage caused, appeal for a drastic reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

We join the Holy Father in pleading for a major break-through in Paris, for a comprehensive and transformational agreement supported by all based on principles of solidarity, justice and participation. This agreement must put the common good ahead of national interests. It is essential too that the negotiations result in an enforceable agreement that protects our common home and all its inhabitants.

Here are their ten calls:

  1. To keep in mind not only the technical but particularly the ethical and moral dimensions of climate change as indicated in Article 3 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  1. To accept that climate and atmosphere are global common goods that are belonging to all and meant for all.
  1. To adopt a fair, transformational and legally binding global agreement based on our vision of the world that recognizes the need to live in harmony with nature, and to guarantee the fulfillment of human rights for all, including those of Indigenous Peoples, women, youth and workers.
  1. To strongly limit a global temperature increase and to set a goal for complete decarbonization by mid-century, in order to protect front-line communities suffering from the impacts of climate change, such as those in the Pacific Islands and in coastal regions. To ensure that the temperature threshold is enshrined in a legally binding global agreement, with ambitious mitigation commitments and actions from all countries recognizing their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC), based on equity principles, historical responsibilities, and the right to sustainable development. To secure that the emissions reductions by governments are in line with the decarbonization goal, governments need to undertake periodic reviews of the pledges they make and of the ambition they show. And to be successful these reviews need also to be based on science and equity and shall be mandatory.
  1. To develop new models of development and lifestyles that are climate compatible, address inequality and bring people out of poverty. Central to this is to put an end to the fossil fuel era, phasing out fossil fuel emissions, including emissions from military, aviation and shipping, and providing affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.
  1. To ensure people’s access to water and to land for climate resilient and sustainable food systems, which give priority to people driven solutions rather than profits.
  1. To ensure inclusion and participation of the poorest, most vulnerable and impacted at all levels of the decision-making process.
  1. To ensure that the 2015 agreement delivers an adaptation approach that adequately responds to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities and builds on local alternatives.
  2. To recognize that adaptation needs are contingent on the success of mitigation measures taken. Those responsible for climate change have responsibilities to assist the most vulnerable in adapting and managing loss and damage and to share the necessary technology and know-how.
  1. To provide clear roadmaps on how countries will meet the provision of predictable, consistent, and additional finance commitments, ensuring a balanced financing of mitigation actions and adaptation needs.