Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 1, 2007
Climate change calls for cooperation -- Vatican
Vatican takes middle ground on environment
By Catholic News Service
Climate change demands a new cooperative international strategy in order to avoid a "bleak future," a Vatican official told the United Nations.
"Climate change is a serious concern and an inescapable responsibility for scientists and other experts, political and governmental leaders, local administrators and international organizations, as well as every sector of human society and each human person," Msgr. Pietro Parolin, Vatican undersecretary of state, told the UN General Assembly Sept. 24.
The Vatican, he said, believes protecting the environment is a "moral imperative" that requires collective action among nations.
All states have a "responsibility to protect our planet and ensure that present and future generations be able to live in a healthy and safe environment," he said.
Solutions, he said, will necessitate both technical adaptations and a change in "selfish attitudes" toward consumption.
Parolin spoke during a one-day UN summit on climate change attended by representatives of more than 150 countries.
The summit's aim was to build momentum and political consensus for a major UN-sponsored conference on the same topic in December in Bali, Indonesia.
Parolin said the best scientific assessments have established a link between human activity and climate change, but that question marks remain.
Those uncertainties "should neither be exaggerated nor minimized in the name of politics, ideologies or self-interest."
Parolin said the Vatican's general stand on environmental protection falls between two extremes.
On one hand, he said, it is unsettling that some commentators think people should exploit the world to the full, with little or no regard for the consequences, using a worldview supposedly based on faith.
"We strongly believe that this is a fundamentally reckless approach," he said.
On the other hand, he said the Vatican does not subscribe to the notion that humanity represents an irredeemable threat to the earth and that human population and activity need to be controlled by drastic means.
"We strongly believe that such assertions would place human beings and their needs at the service of an inhuman ecology."
Parolin said reaching a consensus on climate change must be matched by effective implementation of any agreement.