The Bishops Conference of England and Wales published the following statement today:
As COP 24 begins, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we join with the presidents of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the EU to call on politicians to work towards an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.
We encourage participants to ensure COP 24 proves a milestone in the path set out in 2015 in Paris, hearing always both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
COP 24 begins in the context of an UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlighting the urgent need to work towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, a major WWF report showing that we have witnessed an overall decline of 60% in species population sizes between 1970 and 2014 and projections from the MET Office which show increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels in the UK over the next century.
We have also seen how the Earth's protective ozone layer is continuing to recover, showing how, when the international community takes serious collaborative action, we are capable of healing our wounded planet, giving us reason to be optimistic that we can do what is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
"...all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us (Laudato Si, paragraph 205)."
Global Healing is a film-based event for parishes, groups and individuals. It informs, challenges and equips people to engage with Pope Francis' vital call to care for our common home.