Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 23, 2007
Climate forest makes Vatican the first carbon-neutral state
By CINDY WOODEN
"Safeguarding the environment is . . . an ethical, cultural question."
- Cardinal Paul Poupard
Whatever carbon dioxide emissions someone cannot eliminate can be offset by planting trees or buying the carbon mitigation credits of a company that plants trees or takes other action to eliminate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In his July 5 statement to executives from Planktos and KlimaFa, Poupard thanked the companies for helping the Vatican "do its little part to contribute to eliminating polluting CO2 emissions that threaten the survival of the planet."
God created the world and appointed people as its guardians, telling them to make it fruitful, the cardinal said.
"When man forgets that he is the servant of the earth and becomes its master, the earth itself seems to rebel against man, and the place of welcome becomes a desert that threatens the survival of creation," the cardinal said.
"Safeguarding the environment is not a political question that leaders of political parties must resolve, but an ethical, cultural question," he said.
Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, an official at the council for culture, said the monetary value of the Planktos-KlimaFa gift "is clearly symbolic. They get free publicity and the Holy See is provided with a way to encourage Catholics to do more to safeguard the planet."
"Vatican City State is trying to do its part," he said, mentioning plans to install solar panels on the Vatican audience hall to generate electricity.
"One can emit less CO2 by not using heating and not driving a car or one can do penance by intervening to offset CO2 emissions, in this case by planting trees, which convert CO2 into oxygen," he said July 13.
"It is an ethical and a cultural imperative."
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