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Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania focus on climate change

Call for a sea of political change to avoid destructive climate change
Source: Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania media release

Port Moresby, PNG —The Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania has called for a sea of political change to avoid destructive climate change in countries of the world.

Held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in April, the conference was attended by archbishops and bishops from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Australia and American Samoa.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, reiterated Pope Francis’ vision of the world as being one common home.

The Catholic Bishops of Oceania said they are disturbed to learn that since the 2015 Paris agreement, many nations have reneged on their promises to limit the increase in average global temperature to below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

“That is the pathway of gross irresponsibility," declared the Bishops.

They called on all governments to end the game of delays, posturing and tradeoffs and instead to embrace the courageous leadership and pro-active regulatory frameworks your people expect of you.

“Conversion of attitude is the catalyst to convince political parties and governments to address climate change,” urged the conference.

"For far too long we have been subject to the shallow defense that legislating for effective industrial change would be ‘political suicide’.

“We reject this belief and appeal to all people, particularly those in the continents of industrial strength, to hear our voice from the south”.

“In your hands lies the power to make sustainable, responsible, economic development a political non-negotiable for voters,” they said.

The Bishops of Oceania pledged their support to all businesses with a strong ethic of care for workers and the environment, and implored governments to exercise responsible leadership "in favor of the common good, future generations and our mother earth.”

The Bishops acknowledged that they are from a multitude of island nation states spread throughout the Pacific Ocean and agreed that the sea certainly is a vital source of life and well being for their people.

But at times they feel their islands are battered by climatic events and vulnerable to the winds of multinational businesses and political intrigue,

The bishops point to the intricate connections between nations, economies, and communities of peoples, as well as between the land and the sea.

The conference said an urgent ethical challenge facing the worldwide human family today concerns economic development dependent upon fossil fuel based energy, especially coal.

“More than any other factor, this form of commercial growth is contributing to destructive climate change. Every day our people are suffering from the negative - indeed sometimes disastrous - effects of global warming,” said the conference statement.

These include rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, acidification of waters and coral bleaching, and threats to bio-diversity alongside the more widely noticed increasing extreme weather patterns of cyclones, typhoons and storms.

They draw attention to article 195 of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ which unmasks the often ignored long term social costs of leaving unchecked the pursuit of short term profits, through allegedly cheaper (but exploitative or destructive) means of production”.

The Bishops said that sooner or later future governments would have to address these social health and environmental costs and thus in effect subsidize the very industrial bases they should be curbing.