Heed Pope’s Call in Wake of Copenhagen

Sunday 20 December 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on Catholics to heed Pope Benedict’s call for a greater sense of ecological responsibility in his 2010 World Day of Peace Message.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that concerted efforts were now needed by all people of goodwill to encourage and support the Australian Government’s efforts to implement and strengthen commitments contained in the Copenhagen Accord on climate change.

He said that, while many people committed to strong and urgent global action on climate change were very disappointed by the Copenhagen outcome, the agreement is a positive first step in a long journey towards an effective response to climate change.

“We should welcome the acknowledgement that global temperatures should be kept to below two degrees to avoid the worst consequences of climate change,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is also important that wealthy, developed nations have agreed to work towards a $100 billion a year fund to assist poorer countries to deal with the impact of climate change,” he said.

“And it is also vital that highly developed nations like the USA and significant emerging economies like China fulfill their commitment to control their greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“Despite these advances, we still have a long way to go if we are to have the ‘global solidarity’ for which Pope Benedict called in his World Day of Peace Message,” he said.

“Small island states like Tuvalu, low-lying Asian countries like Bangladesh and many poor countries in Africa are vulnerable to the damaging consequences of climate change and wealthy countries like Australia and the USA must not short change the people in these countries in their climate change action,” he said.

“The representatives of poorer countries expressed their exasperation with the unwillingness of the leaders of many wealthy countries to make a more wholehearted commitment to address climate change,” he said.

“If their concerns are not heard and addressed effectively, global tensions will mount and the peace we all long for will elude us, as the Pope indicates,” he said.

“Politicians around the world seem to be hampered in their response by the short term economic and political costs of an effective response to the threat of climate change,” he said.

“We must try to encourage our own leaders to embrace the ‘inter-generational solidarity’ which Pope benedict called for,” he said.

“We must not only encourage our leaders to take effective action for the sake of the many who will suffer serious consequences in the next couple of decades, but also commit ourselves to protecting the interests of future generations,” he said.

“Pope Benedict reminds us of the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the created order,” he said.

“We must take care of the Earth if our relationship with God  is to be healthy,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

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