Friday, May 01, 2015

Pope Francis, world leaders sign declaration saying climate change is a 'scientific reality'

The climate change movement has one of the world's most influential and important figures on its side. Pope Francis and Vatican church leaders this week "joined with politicians, scientists and economists to draft a statement declaring not only that climate change is a 'scientific reality' but also that there’s a moral and religious responsibility to do something about it," Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post. Pope Francis this summer "is slated to release a major papal encyclical on the environment." (Associated Foreign Press photo by Osservatore Romano: Pope Francis and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meeting on Tuesday)

"The effort to mobilize religious believers to worry about climate as part of a broader, biblically grounded 'creation care' mandate has a long history (though it has traditionally focused more on evangelicals than Catholics)," Mooney writes "Books have been written about it, and one of its major spokespeople—Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical climate scientist at Texas Tech University—was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people last year."

The most important part of having Pope Francis on board is that it moralizes the issue, Mooney writes. "When issues are moralized, people feel before they think and refuse to compromise. It may not be what we strictly call 'rational, but it is politically powerful."

The declaration reads:

"The world has within its technological grasp, financial means . . . to mitigate climate change while also ending extreme poverty, through the application of sustainable development solutions including the adoption of low-carbon energy systems supported by information and communications technology."

"The financing of sustainable development, including climate mitigation, should be bolstered through new incentives for the transition towards low-carbon energy and through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable the shift of public financing from military spending to to urgent investment for sustainable development."

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