The changing climate is a massive focus for CAFOD; as the weather changes it is those who are already struggling who are thrown into further poverty as unpredictable weather causes droughts and floods, which leads crops to fail and livestock to die. As today is International Environment Day and also marks six months on from the Paris talks, Elouise Hobbs reflects on how Laudato Si’ has influenced our One Climate, One World Campaign and examine where we are, six months on from COP21.
When CAFOD sent delegates to the Paris Summit, we wanted a fair, just and legally binding deal that limited temperature increases to no more than 2°C. We asked for guaranteed finance to help countries adapt to climate change and to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy by 2050; which included reviews every five years.
Bernard White from the Plymouth Diocese, who attended COP21 as a CAFOD delegate said:
“As regards reflections on my experiences in Paris last December, there are many. There was great comradeship among the group of us who went to Paris and I remember the enthusiasm of so many people who stood, hand in hand, by the Eiffel Tower demanding action on climate change. And then hearing that an agreement had been reached by all the countries there was highly satisfying and rewarding.”
Six months later, 177 countries have now signed an agreement stating temperature increases must stay well below 2°C, and ideally be kept to 1.5°C. The agreement opens the door to five-yearly reviews, with the first to take place in 2018.
In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology warned of the pressing and urgent danger of climate change. The Pope declared that: “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.”
He went onto say that, “reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility,” and this can be done through small day-to-day changes. Although at times, the issue of the change climate can seem like it is happening too fast and widely, Pope Francis offers a message of hope: “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.”
COP22 is happening in Morocco, 7 – 18 November. At the meeting, new leader Patricia Espinosa, will discuss how we can bring about the Paris Agreement treaty in reality.
The second stage in making the Paris Agreement international law; only 55% of countries have to rectify the law to make it an international law and it is being predicted that this stage will take a year.
Laudato Si’ has taught us that looking after our common home is not simply an environmental issue, it is one of faith. By changing our small actions, everyday, together, we are able to make a massive difference.