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Vatican calls on rich countries to address impact of climate change on poor



Zelda Caldwell - published on 11/12/21

As the COP26 Climate Conference draws to a close, the Holy See urged developed countries to develop “roadmap” to solve crisis

The Holy See praised the work of the COP26 Climate Conference, but called on developed countries to do more to follow through on their promises to combat climate change.

The statement, which was released as the conference draws to a close, emphasized the impact that the climate crisis has on the poor and called on industrial nations to help those most affected by climate change.

“The ambitious commitments made by States to limit the rise of the global average temperature to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels and to provide the needed financial resources to do so are promising and indeed essential for the survival of the most vulnerable communities,” read the statement.

Closing the “gaps”

Over the last two weeks, the Holy See said, “gaps” have emerged in the global communities’ plans to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. 

These gaps in the field of “mitigation, adaptation and financing,” the statement said, “will need to be strengthened and renewed in order to achieve these goals. The Holy See hopes that COP26 can reach an agreement on a clear roadmap to close these gaps soon, with developed countries taking the lead.”

“Loss and damage”

Commending the conference’s participants for recognizing the impact that climate change has on the poor, the Holy See’s statement recalled Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, which the pope released in the weeks before the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The issue of loss and damage is particularly critical to those communities that are most vulnerable to climate change, as was also recognized in the joint appeal by faith leaders and scientists on 4th October. Pope Francis has clearly emphasized the ecological debt and the solidarity that industrialized countries owe to the poor.”

Under the 2015 climate agreement, developed countries pledged to combat the global warming but did not provide for a system to provide compensation for “loss and damage.”  A clause in the agreement, in fact, explicitly noted that the accord “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”

For years environmental activists have been pushing for richer countries, who they say are responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions causing the crisis, to financially compensate developing countries for “loss and damage.”  The money would help these countries rebuild after storms, replant damaged crops, and help relocate communities affected by extreme weather events.

On the final day of the conference, a draft agreement was released calling for a doubling of the money to help developing countries impacted by climate change.

The draft document also proposed a “technical assistance facility” to help address “loss and damage” issues but was not specific about funding or mechanisms to require countries to make payments to compensate other countries.

EnvironmentPope Francis
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