'Time is running out for humanity to address climate change', warns Pope Francis
"Lifestyle and energy use changes are required if the consequences of climate change are to be averted," declares a statement released today by the Vatican, during a news conference on a Papal Encyclical about climate change. "Market-based solutions like carbon credits are relying too much on technology, and are not the definitive solution."
Coming just weeks after the Pope announced an agreement in principle with Ban Ki Moon, the secretary-general of the UNO, that climate change is a priority issue for the world, today's edict is a promising sign that the world's catholic leader may be moving the church towards declaring climate change a moral issue for everyone, and not just a matter for scientists, politicians and economists.
Climate change is causing mass forced displacement, starvation, and cultural and economic breakdown. For too long, the issue has been debated within the confines of market forces, with economic and technological solutions which have failed to deliver.
Pope Francis today criticised the incremental changes made since the problem was addressed at Rio, 1992, as being insubstantial. In a news conference today, he stated that developed countries have a responsibility to address the issue.
"What we are looking for now are not incremental but substantial changes if we are to deal with the problem of climate change."
The statement goes on to say that it is the responsibility of everyone: what is needed is a lifestyle change, to bring about a change in energy usage patterns. Solutions like carbon credits are not achieving the required changes in attitude and energy dependency, but rather makes climate change an instrument of speculation in a money market. Historically, these solutions have been tried, such as with the Kyoto Protocol, but with only limited success.
Aryuna Srinidhi, of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, welcomes the papal announcement, and commented in an interview on Aljazheera television: "We have a carbon budget of 1000 Gt of CO2 left in the atmosphere, which we must not exceed if we are to limit global warming to less than 2°C [this century]. We are currently producing 40 Gt of CO2 [net] per annum. At this rate we will have used as much as a quarter of our budget before the Paris Summit on Climate Change regulations come into force post 2020. This is too late. We need action now.
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