July 17, 2008

Pope Benedict Urges Catholics to Fight Climate Change

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Australia on Sunday after a flight from the Vatican that lasted over 20 hours. Having rested for three days he gave his first public address at the World Youth Day festival in Sydney earlier today. According to UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph, Pope Benedict used his speech to urge the 150,000 pilgrims gathered around Sydney harbour, and Catholics around the world, to work harder to protect the planet:

Perhaps reluctantly, we come to acknowledge that there are scars which mark the surface of our earth – erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption.

In a strong attack on consumerism the Pope criticised the internet and television for using violence and sexual exploitation as entertainment. He said that nonviolence, sustainable development, justice and care for the environment were of vital importance for humanity.

Critics immediately pointed to what they describe as "the hypocrisy" of the Pope's views on contraception and abortion, and the impact of the World's increasing population on climate change.

Nonetheless there seems currently to be a remarkable consensus across the political spectrum and from both ends of the moral spectrum that something needs to be done about "protecting the planet" or "embracing alternative energy".

Unfortunately despite all the speeches and learned reports there still seems to be no such consensus about precisely what should done. The G8 leaders said in Hokkaido that:

We reaffirm our commitment to take strong leadership in combating climate change and in this respect, welcome decisions taken in Bali as the foundation for reaching a global agreement in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process by 2009. We are committed to its successful conclusion.

Fine words. Now let's see some action.

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