Global cooperation needed in response to climate change, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Global problems associated with
climate change demand global cooperation, Pope Francis told a group of heads of
state from the Pacific Islands.

The planet Earth, when viewed from space, is a world
without borders, he said, and “it reminds us of the need for a global
outlook, international cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy”
when it comes to caring for the environment.

Such a shared approach “can prevent us from
remaining indifferent in the face of grave problems such as the deterioration
of the environment and of the health of the oceans, which is itself linked to
the human and social deterioration experienced by humanity today,” he

The pope spoke Nov. 11 during an audience with leaders of
the Pacific Islands Forum, an organization of 18 member nations, whose aim is
to increase regional cooperation and its voice on the world stage.

The meeting also came as world leaders were meeting for
the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Nov. 6-15. There,
governments were looking at how they could better meet the goals of the Paris
Agreement, which aims to control global temperature increases by reducing
greenhouse gas emissions.

Baron Waqa, the incoming chair of the Pacific Islands
Forum and president of Nauru, told the pope that their island nations “are
at the forefront of the impacts of climate change. The devastating impacts of
cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis in recent years have resulted in enormous
losses for our smaller island economies, which have taken decades to build.”

Waqa praised the pope’s leadership in promoting the
recognition that those who least contribute to greenhouse gas emissions often
bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, and for his insistence on the
inclusion of everyone in discussions and solutions.

The pope said he shared their concern and lamented the
causes that “have led to this environmental decay,” which,
“sadly, many of them are due to shortsighted human activity connected with
certain ways of exploiting natural and human resources.”

“It is my hope that the efforts of COP-23, and those
yet to come, will always keep in mind the greater picture of that ‘Earth
without borders,'” the pope said.

“Not only
geographic and territorial distances, but also distances in time are dissolved
by the realization that everything in the world is intimately connected,”
he said.

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