Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 25, 2001
U.S. urged to oppose global warming
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY — The United States and other industrialized nations have a right to criticize the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, but they also have an obligation to protect the environment, a Vatican official said.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican's observer at UN agencies in Geneva, spoke to Vatican Radio June 17 after U.S. President George W. Bush and European leaders meeting in Sweden disagreed over implementation of the 1997 Kyoto agreement.
"The position of the Holy See must be that of keeping attention fixed on what is at stake, which is the future of the environment and of the coming generations," Martin said.
People have a moral obligation to work "to recover that harmony between humanity and creation which God wanted to give to the world," he said.
Treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol can do much to protect the environment, "but basically the attitude of individuals is what counts," he said.
Bush and other critics of the Kyoto agreement said its call for nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below 1990 levels is unrealistic and would harm their economies.
Martin said no treaty is perfect and if Bush thinks the Kyoto agreement is unworkable, "then it would be best to move rapidly toward finding an agreement which would involve the United States."
The Clinton administration, he said, did not push for ratification of the treaty because it knew it did not have the political support for passage.
"Much depends on public opinion," the archbishop said. "We need to promote ecological education because we live in this world which God has given us, but which people sometimes have destroyed because of selfishness and sin."
Martin also spoke about the G-8 summit scheduled to take leaders of the world's most industrialized countries to Genoa, Italy, in July.
He said he would have "a long list of things to say" to the leaders.
"The first is to move forward with strategies to fight poverty, putting poor countries in a position where they can guide their own destinies," he said.
In addition, they also must continue work on finding a way to reduce the foreign debt of the world's poorest countries, Martin said.
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