Catholic Bishops Offer COP21 Delegates ’10 Calls’ to Climate Action

Catholic Bishops from 5 continents have appealed to COP21 delegates to take legally binding action that will reduce the impact of climate change on the poorest regions. Citing Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si, the nine signatories, six of which were presidents of continental bishops’ conferences, are calling 195 COP member nations to enact ten measures, listed below.

Notably, the call to action demonstrates that its purpose is not intended for exclusively Catholic delegates insisting, "Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone." Drawing on Laudato Si page 93, the Bishops and Cardinals insist that climate action is the duty of all humans regardless of religious practice – maintaining the true spirit of the document.

Our 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). 

2. to accept that climate and atmosphere are global common goods that are belonging to all and meant for all.

3. to adopt a fair, transformational and legally binding global agreement based on our vision of the world that recognises the need to live in harmony with nature, and to guarantee the fulfilment of human rights for all, including those of Indigenous Peoples, women, youth and workers. 

4. to strongly limit a global temperature increase and to set a goal for complete decarbonization by mid-century, to protect frontline 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 recognising 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 decarbonisation 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. 

5. 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. 
6. 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. 

7. to ensure inclusion and participation of the poorest, most vulnerable and impacted at all levels of the decision-making process. 8.
8. 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. 

9. to recognise 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 knowhow. 

10. 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.

World's bishops appeal to COP 21 delegates for 'just and legally binding' climate deal

Brian Roewe | National Catholic Reporter

The world’s bishops have a clear message for world leaders set, in barely a month, to enter the latest and perhaps most significant round of international climate negotiations: Get the deal done in Paris.

In Rome on Monday, the heads of six continental bishops’ conferences, along with leaders of national conferences in the United States and Canada and of the Catholic patriarchs of the Orient, made the collective call — “on our own behalf and on behalf of the people for whom we care” — to the negotiating parties who are set to arrive Nov. 30 in Paris for the annual United Nations climate change conference, formally known as the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21).

“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,” the bishops said in their appeal, which drew heavily from Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

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