ROMAN CATHOLIC bishops from around the world have called for "an
end of the fossil-fuel era" and for "all Catholics and people of
good will" to engage with the process of securing a global
agreement next year in Paris to tackle climate change.
The statement, made by Bishops from Europe, Africa, Latin
America, and Asia, comes as negotiators from more than 190
countries meet in Lima, Peru, to work on the details of a deal that
would significantly reduce carbon pollution and provide support for
poor countries having to adapt to climate change.
The Bishops called on countries to secure a deal that would keep
the global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5° above
pre-industrial levels. It is currently at 0.85° and scientists say
that, without action to curb emissions, a rise of closer to 4° is
expected. Hot regions of the world could expect rises much greater
than the average.
The Bishops' statement said: "We as Bishops call on all parties
to build new models of development, and lifestyles that are both
climate- compatible and bring people out of poverty. Central to
this is to put an end to the fossil-fuel era, phasing out
fossil-fuel emissions and phasing in 100-per-cent renewables with
sustainable energy access for all."
It goes on: "We Bishops call on all Catholics and people of good
will to engage on the road to Paris as a starting point for a new
life in harmony with Creation, respecting planetary
The statement precedes a keenly awaited papal encyclical on the
environment next year, and echoes similar calls from Anglican
clergy such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who backed an
apartheid-style disinvestment campaign of fossil-fuel companies
As the talks in Lima reached their conclusion, thousands of
people marched through the centre of the city on Wednesday, calling
on leaders to take action that would pave the way to a strong
outcome in Paris.
The advocacy adviser at Christian Aid, Fran Witt, who was at the
march, said that faith groups were an increasingly important voice
in the debate. She said: "Climate change disproportionately affects
the poorest people the most, despite them not being the ones
responsible for causing it. That is why, at its core, climate
change is a matter of injustice and why Christians are increasingly
speaking up about it."
Talks in Lima are expected to conclude in the early hours of
Saturday morning, as negotiators work through the night.