Vatican Laments ‘Failure’ of U.N. Climate Convention

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11: Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg gives a speech at the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on December 11, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. The COP25 conference brings together world leaders, climate activists, NGOs, indigenous people and others for two weeks in an effort to …
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty

ROME — The deputy director of the Vatican’s communications office declared this week that the U.N.’s COP25 climate change convention had “ended in failure” as world leaders reached no agreement regarding a global carbon market.

Speaking in Madrid at the book launch of A Great Hope: The Custody of Creation, a collection of writings by Pope Francis on the environment, Alessandro Gisotti said Monday that while “it is true that the summit has ended in failure” there is, at least, greater consciousness of the problem of climate change.

“Civil society has a renewed awareness of environmental issues and climate change like never before, despite the failure of COP25,” he said.

“Society’s awareness is very important,” Mr. Gisotti said, adding that it is young people who are leading the way in care for the environment.

“In fact, young people around the world, believers and non-believers alike, feel that Pope Francis is perhaps the only adult world leader who takes responsibility for actions that affect the new generations,” he remarked.

Gisotti also voiced his opinion that the pope’s 2015 encyclical letter on care for the environment, Laudato Si, is “the most appreciated document” of his pontificate.

The former director of the Vatican’s press office also had strong words for the pope’s critics.

“Francis’ critics contend that a pope should not devote himself to ecological issues,” Gisotti said. “These criticisms are unacceptable.”

“The pope calls for a global response to a global problem, because everything is connected,” he said.

At Monday’s book event, held at the Jesuit-run University of Comillas in Madrid, other Church representatives echoed Gisotti’s disillusion over the COP25 debacle.

The outcome of the COP25 convention was “a great disappointment for not having achieved the expected progress,” said Cardinal Lluis Martínez Sistach, the archbishop emeritus of Barcelona.

The ecological content of this new book is very needed and urgent, especially after “the necessary progress was not made” at the climate summit, the cardinal said.

And the figure of Pope Francis is increasingly necessary, he added. “Francisco is an urban pope. It is in the big cities where climate warming occurs, and people live and suffer it,” he said.

For his part, the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro, noted that despite the failure at COP25, “now is not a time for sadness” but a time to understand that “the climate is a common good.”


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