Church leaders call for compensation and climate justice

THE environmental conference on climate crises called COP27 in Egypt is coming to an end this week and the voice of the Catholic Church calling for climate justice and restitution payments for loss and damage caused by industrial nations against the poor has been heard. heard. Many in hard-hearted rich industrial countries refuse to admit and accept their responsibility and obligation for causing the climate crises.

It is the powerful hidden forces of industry that capture government departments, compromise and bribe politicians and bend them to their will. Their will is for all to deny that there is a climate crisis and to leave the world as it is, consuming fossil fuels without stopping. The planet is heading for a cliff at full speed, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres put it, with Holocaust deniers and obstructors fully on the accelerator. The point of no return will soon be reached when the cycle of global warming continues indefinitely. Life on Earth will be unbearable for creatures, plants and humans, experts say.

Visitors are pictured at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Center in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of the same name during the 27th UN Climate Change Conference on November 15, 2022. AFP PHOTO

Visitors are pictured at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Center in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of the same name during the 27th UN Climate Change Conference on November 15, 2022. AFP PHOTO

Paying reparations for the damage caused to poor nations is a matter of urgent conscience, according to Bishop Nicolas Thévenin, Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt and Deputy Head of the Holy See Delegation. He said rich industrial countries must pay compensation for polluting the planet and harming everyone else’s life and environment. In other undiplomatic words, rich nations must stand up and pay.

“It is imperative that we build bridges of solidarity. Those most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change are urgently calling for genuine support at this time of crisis.” He said “ignore them [those affected by the climate crisis] would be a lack of awareness. »

Pope Francis in Laudato Si teaches that all humans must save the environment and the planet from the destructive forces of irresponsible governments and industry that are causing global warming and the massive catastrophes happening around the world.

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The damage caused to small countries by floods, typhoons and drought is immense and is inflicted on them by irresponsible governments that approve coal and oil-fired power plants and pay oil companies a trillion dollars in subsidies to explore more oil and gas. This is extreme hypocrisy and a complete contradiction to their past and current statements at COP27 where they pledge to reduce levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. In fact, they increase CO2 emissions.

The Philippines has 28 dirty coal-fired power plants, and industry tycoons and some friends of the government and politicians under their influence are demanding the construction of another 20 coal-fired power plants. Public opinion is unwavering against more and demands free renewable energy from nature. The tycoons and the government must invest in low-cost renewable energy generation sources like wind, geothermal solar, hydroelectricity and biomass. Oil companies around the world are among the worst at causing CO2 and toxic contamination.

The papal encyclical inspired many to join the Laudato Si Movement (LSM) of committed lay people, priests, religious and hopefully bishops. Together with many organizations, they are committed to saving the planet by raising awareness and inspiring action to reduce global warming and carbon dioxide emissions.

The goals are “to urge political, business and social leaders to commit to ambitious climate action to address this urgent crisis and keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius (relative to pre-industrial) They can be found at www.Laudatosi .org

The only group they forgot to mention by name is the world bishops. They must be inspired, motivated and challenged to take action and help save creation from global warming. Unfortunately, not all bishops in the United States support Pope Francis on his position in Laudato Si. Many are silent and some are misleading on climate change, according to research from Creighton University in Nebraska.

If bishops around the world would answer Pope Francis’ call and start their own environmental change project in their dioceses and plant at least 1,000 saplings and take care of them, that would be a great contribution. They could teach by example and encourage each parish to have its own tree planting project. They might offer a prize for best effort.

Bishops and priests can roll up their sleeves and step out of the comfort of their palaces, presbyteries and cloisters and lead the people to plant trees. It is a powerful way to teach gospel values ​​and to inspire and unite a congregation. Action for climate justice is a great encouragement for young people and the next generation to see life-giving forests. If bishops are called leaders, then they must lead by example. In the Philippines, some brave brave bishops stood up for human rights and justice and sacrificed themselves for the good of the poor and exploited and were arrested and charged. We need many more bishops to build faith and follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth and take a courageous stand for the environment.

It is also a matter of faith, as Jesus taught that truth, kindness, love and action for justice will overcome evil. Voluntary pollution and causing a climate crisis against creation is evil. We need to act. As St. James said, “Faith without action is dead” (James 2:26) When people act together to do good and help each other, that is faith in action.

Forests provide life, oxygen, water, and protection from storms and landslides. Trees are fantastic CO2 absorbers and digesters. They in turn give off clean, healthy oxygen. Planting trees is something that communities and schoolchildren can do together. If the bishops and priests of a diocese joined them in a tree planting project, people would not faint in shock. They would applaud and be inspired to do even more to save the “common home”. This year, instead of buying a cut tree for Christmas, plant one instead.

Jerry B. Hatch