By Cliona Sharkey, Trócaire
On my way to Mexico two weeks ago I was reflecting on the differences between the prospects for the Cancun meeting and the level of expectation in the run up to the Copenhagen summit last year. Sitting in the airport on my way home I find myself comparing the day the gavel went down last year with the atmosphere today, the day the Cancun conference closed. Thankfully, the mood couldn’t be more different. On substance, however, you have to look at the detail to assess what progress has been made.. Continue reading
By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy, at the climate conference in Cancun,
We need to thoroughly assess the outcome of the summit in detail, but there seems to be a sign of hope. In all the statements to be heard by high level officials it was acknowledged that now is time for action.
Checking against our own targets, adequate funding for the most vulnerable communities and a fair and legally binding deal under the UNFCCC that builds on the Kyoto protocol, some elements seem to have been achieved. A Climate Fund and agreement to keep global temperature below 2° C compared to pre-industrial levels.
Most importantly apparently Mexico set a spirit of seriousness and transparency which provided for a lifeline for future negotiations.
You have negotiated all my lifetime said a 21-year old girl from a youth organization in the concluding plenary and you do not have the authority to ask for more time. There seems to be hope that she sees concrete steps to tackle climate change during her life.
It seems that the many voices from civil society and faith-based organisations present at the summit have reached the hearts and minds of the leaders and negotiators. Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, President of Caritas Mexico speaking on behalf of the faith based organizations called for climate justice and for courageous, equitable and binding agreements. It seems that his call was not totally in vain.
CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) response to the Cancun Agreements
CAFOD’s head of policy Gwen Barry said: “Cancun has shown people whose lives depend on these negotiations that the world is serious about preventing devastating climate change. The gains made here in Mexico lay the foundations for action towards a legally binding agreement that could safeguard the future for our children and grandchildren.
“It is a credit to the Mexican presidency of the COP that they created the political space for meaningful negotiation. After the damaging adversarial tone of Copenhagen and Tianjin they have offered us glimpses of a political dynamic that could successfully tackle climate change. The collective spirit of multi-lateralism that filled the last hours of Cancun engendered a level of compromise that saw even recalcitrant nations find room for flexibility.
“But Japan, the US, Russia and Canada – and any nation that did not come to Cancun with ambitious mandates - must be reminded that when the present economic crisis has ended, climate change will still be gathering pace. And with each year that passes without a globally binding agreement to cut emissions and finance poor countries’ needs to adapt to climate change and develop low-carbon economies, the impacts will become more and more severe. Continue reading
Bishop Gustavo Rodríguez Vega addresses the Cancun climate change meeting
Caritas Mexico President Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega presented the following to the UNFCCC meeting in Cancun on behalf of the World Council of Churches.
A Plea for Immediate Action
“No more delays: Life on Earth is in peril”
Statement from the World Council of Churches
To the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31:8‑9
Fifteen years have passed since we attended the First Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC which met in Berlin in 1995.
Once again we are meeting, completing the first decade of the Third Millennium, in which we had put all our hopes and efforts to solve the severe and urgent problems that are challenging us as inhabitants of the blue planet, our common home.
Time has run past. The problems and their challenges are still here. Scientific knowledge, supported by statistics and climatic models, as well as plain observations made by peasant, farmers, Indigenous peoples and coastal inhabitants has confirmed that the climate is changing because of human activities and that such change will prove disastrous for life in this planet, while we are still unable to take the unavoidable steps to detain the already tangible and oncoming appalling events. Continue reading
Martin Largo, Caritas Espana
El Cambio Climático supone uno de los mayores retos que va a asumir la humanidad en el siglo XXI, pues tiene impactos en la producción de alimentos y materias primas, salud, migraciones, acceso al agua, nivel del mar, biodiversidad, desastres naturales, y en definitiva la habitabilidad de la tierra.
El cambio climático se produce por la acumulación de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera, que provocan un calentamiento excesivo y un desequilibrio en el funcionamiento de los ecosistemas. Tres cuartas partes de estos gases han sido emitidos por los países desarrollados, que acumulan solamente un 15% de la población mundial. Por ello, los países ricos tienen la obligación moral de hacer los mayores esfuerzos por remediar el problema. Continue reading
Faith communities came together to address climate change, poverty and sustainable development in a joint Caritas Internationalis, ACT Alliance and World Council of Churches side event to the Cancun climate summit on 7 December. Credits: Alberto Arciniega/Caritas
Faith communities came together to address climate change, poverty and sustainable development in a side event jointly organised by Caritas Internationalis, ACT Alliance and the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the Cancun climate summit on 7 December.
“We are talking about people, not words. It is about working towards climate justice so the poor don’t pay the price for climate change,” said the moderator Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy at Caritas Internationalis.
The four speakers at the event entitled “Faith based organizations advocate for climate justice” came from Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Thailand. Continue reading
Christine Campeau at a Caritas hosted Holy Mass for climate justice. It was a side event to the climate summit in Cancun. Credit: Alberto Arciniega/ Caritas Mexico
By Christine Campeau, Climate Change and Food Security Advisor
Caritas has always worked to serve the poor and most vulnerable people around the world. However ‘who’ those vulnerable people are has come under question at the climate negotiations here in Cancun.
Certain developing countries feel that they are being left out of the group and, as a result, risk losing out on their share of the limited climate funding available that has been made available.
Some countries have challenged the difference between the Bali Action Plan classification of vulnerable countries which includes Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LCDs), and African countries and the list that is found in Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC which includes a much more comprehensive list of eligible countries. Continue reading
Martin Lago at the UNFCCC conference in Cancun
By Martin Lago, Climate Change Advisor for Caritas Spain and Haiti programme officer
The hope I have for this summit is that the developed countries will stick to their targets for funds on climate change adaptation. Developed countries have committed in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion in annual long-term financing by 2020 and $30 billion have been pledged for fast-start financing to address urgent adaptation and associated capacity-building needs in developing countries. Again, it is not enough to tackle the challenge that we face. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimated that $500-600 billion is needed in developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. But at least, these funds can be a start. Caritas in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic for example will apply for money out of these funds, we are working on the application at the moment. Continue reading
Samson Malesi Shivaji, National Livelihoods Coordinator at Caritas Kenya discusses with a community in Machakos a project to build a dam. Credit: Samson Malesi Shivaji/ Caritas Kenya
By Samson Malesi Shivaji, National Livelihoods Coordinator at Caritas Kenya
I work very closely with communities at the grassroots level on climate change adaptation and it is this African and Kenyan perspective I presented at a side event held by Caritas, the World Food Program, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Accra (African Climate Change Resilience Alliance). Our projects focus on climate change adaptation and capacity building.
At our pilot project bio-farm in Meru in Central-Eastern Kenya for example, we capture the livestock’s dung which is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions to channel it into a biogas production. The produced energy goes to 15 households that didn’t have access to electricity before. Then the manure, which is the remains of the biogas production system, is used as dung and therefore reduces the amount of fertilizers needed. We will now extend this project in Kenya. Continue reading
Inter-religious celebration during climate talks in Cancun. Credit Anne-Sophie Legge
By Anne -Sophie Legge, Cancun
English |Homily in Spanish |French
“We need a new alliance with creation that results in fraternity with all creatures”, said Msgr. Gustavo Rodríguez Vega, President of Caritas Mexico, at an interreligious celebration held on 4 December as side event to the Cancun climate summit.
The event was organised in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and brought together Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran and other religious leaders from different parts of the world.
“Brothers and sisters, we have come to Cancun not as prophets of calamities but as men and women of faith and hope. We know that a lot of skepticism persists about whether the representatives of our world’s nations will be able to conclude a binding agreement on the reduction of emissions causing climate change. (…) Those who govern us have a great responsibility when it comes to environmental targets: we call upon our Heads of State not to limit their discussions to defending productivity and competitiveness criteria but to place humanity at the centre,” said Msgr. Rodríguez Vega. Continue reading