In a statement Wednesday, the Holy See said the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement, established during the recent UN climate change summit in Poland earlier this month, are lacking in urgency and in proper concern for human rights.
“We are grateful to the leaders from States and other stakeholders who contributed to this multilateral dialogue and the writing of the rulebook. Unfortunately, we must also note that the rulebook does not adequately reflect the urgency necessary to tackle climate change,” the Holy See stated Dec. 19.
“Moreover, the rulebook seems to downplay human rights, critical in reflecting the human face of climate change, which affects the most vulnerable people on earth,” the statement continued. “Their cry and that of the earth demand more ambition and greater urgency.”
Informally dubbed the COP-24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place Dec. 3-14. The main task of the summit was developing a program for implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national level.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin was present at the meetings in Katowice, Poland with a delegation representing the Holy See. He addressed the convention Dec. 3.
The Paris Agreement, which will take effect in 2020, was made within the UNFCCC to create a global response to combatting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A long-term goal of the agreement is to help control the increase in the global average temperature by having countries pledge individual contributions towards the mitigation of global warming.
The Holy See stated Dec. 19 that, “as the IPCC Special Report issued in October 2018 distressingly indicated, we are called to limit responsibly the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
In light of this report, the Holy See urges “greater ambition in delivering Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” in developing mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and in “managing the decarbonization of the current fossil fuel-based economy.”
It also recommends greater transparency for each nation in sharing its implementation, including addressing loss and damage, ensuring solid financial commitments, and promoting education in sustainability and responsible lifestyle changes.
“Global leaders gathered in Katowice for COP-24,” the statement said, “struggled to find the will to set aside their short-term economic and political interests and work for the common good.”
They finally came to a consensus on the “rulebook” for implementing the Paris Agreement. “Rather complex and technically detailed, [it] represents a confirmation of the commitments made three years ago in Paris and of the significance of multilateralism.”
The Holy See noted that, “faith and reason must come together, enabling us to make positive choices in our lifestyles, in how our economies are run, and in building a true global solidarity necessary to avert this climate crisis.”