“When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation.”
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, made this statement at a conference this morning at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross on the theme: “The New Climate Economy. How Economic Growth and Sustainability Can Go Hand in Hand.” It was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the “World Resource Institute”, “The New Climate Economy” and the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Holy See.
The Vatican official praised the conference’s aim of exploring the compatibility between economic growth and sustainability, as well as developing the so-called “win-win opportunities” that would help achieve these two goals for the benefit of present and future generations. He acknowledge how many studies, including that done by the New Climate Economy Report, show various possibilities for enhancing the complementarities between these two objectives.
Given that two important preparatory processes of the United Nations system–the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda and the UNFCCC COP-21 in Paris, next December, to adopt a new agreement on facing the adverse effects of climate change–are underway, he said this conference is timely.
Both of the upcoming events, he noted, “represent the serious ethical and moral responsibility that each of us has towards the whole human family, especially the poor and future generations.”
While acknowledging the path to achieving such goals is not easy because “this ethical and moral responsibility calls into question the resetting of the development model and require a major political and economic commitment,” he stressed that it is possible.
The technological and operational bases needed to facilitate this mutual responsibility are not only already available, but also within our reach, he stated, recalling his own words to the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.
“We have the capacity to start and strengthen a true and beneficial process which will irrigate, as it were, through adaptation and mitigation activities, the field of economic and technological innovation.”
From this, Cardinal Parolin pointed out that two interconnected objectives can be cultivated, namely combating poverty and easing the effects of climate change.
“My earnest hope,” the Vatican official said, noting he is sure it is possible, is “that this conference can make a strong contribution in this direction, taking into account that ‘the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 203).’”
The Vatican Secretary of State concluded expressing his sentiments of esteem and respect and Pope Francis’ prayerful best wishes.
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