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Climate Change: A Priority for the Holy See

January 24th, 2013

Since 2009, Pope Benedict XVI has explicitly supported the idea of an international treaty through the United Nations to address climate change.  The Holy Father has offered this support in his 2009 Message to the Climate Change Summit, 2010 Message to the Diplomatic Corps, and his Angelus on November 27, 2011.

For 2013, it appears that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will make an international agreement a top priority as well.  According to the Associated Press, one of his chief concerns in 2013 will be securing a binding international agreement to address climate change: Climate change is fast happening – much, much faster than one would have expected [. . .] Climate and ecosystems are under growing strain [. . .] I will do my best to mobilise the political will and resources so that the member states can agree to a new legally binding global agreement on climate change.

Climate Change is a priority for the U.S. President as well…

While it is not yet clear what form of action he will take, President Barack Obama, in his recent Presidential Inauguration Address, highlighted the importance of climate change and his commitment to addressing this issue in his second term:

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.  The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.  That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

For more coverage of the President’s statements on climate change in his Inaugural Address, click here.

Thanks to the Catholic Climate Covenant for this information. Sign up for their email newsletter here.

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