Reflections on Laudato Si’, six months on from the Paris Talks

OCOW logoThe 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.

Phil Mayland from the Birmingham Diocese, who attended COP21 as a CAFOD delegate said:

“This agreement is historic. The aim is to limit global warming to 2 degrees with a recognition that this needs to come down to 1.5 degrees if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided. However, it should be seen as a guide for future actions and not as the final solution to climate change. We need to develop legally binding agreements so countries can be held to account. We need to put human rights, food security and land use at the heart of future agreements, so that the needs of the poorest peoples and those hit hardest by the extremes of climate change are satisfied.”

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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.

Bernard White (second right) travelled to Paris with CAFOD supporters to call for a climate change agreement (Liam Finn CAFOD) (002).jpg

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.”

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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.

Watch our video and download the resources on Climate reflection

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