UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses climate change summit. Photo: CNS

By Carol Glatz
29 April 2015

(Catholic Herald) – Dealing with climate change will take more than just global policies and agreements, it will also take a unified stance from the world’s religions, the secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) said at the Vatican.

To have development without destruction and “to transform our economies, however, we must first transform our thinking, and our values. In this, the world’s religions can provide valuable leadership,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told religious leaders, scientists and scholars.

“If ever there were an issue that requires unity of purpose” among governments, private businesses, civil society and faith-based groups, “it is climate change,” he said, giving the opening address at a Vatican-sponsored workshop on Tuesday.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Religions for Peace, organised an international gathering titled Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

More than 100 experts, including Nobel laureates, from the world of science, politics, business and academics as well as religious leaders, came together to show support for a global consensus on the urgency of stemming climate change and promoting sustainable development.

Pope Francis, whose encyclical letter on the environment is completed and will be released in the coming months, met with Mr Ban for 30 minutes at the academy before the start of the workshop.

The UN leader said they had “a fruitful and wide-ranging conversation” in private and that he thanked the Pope for accepting his invitation to address the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25.

The two talked about climate change and unsustainable development and how they often drive people to migrate in very dangerous situations because they “are looking for a better future.” […]

Focusing on getting religious leaders onboard was key because climate change and its impact on people’s health, security, food supplies and future make it “a moral issue. It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics,” Mr Ban said. […]

“Let the world know that there is no divide whatsoever between religion and science on the issue of climate change.” [more]

UN looks to religions for ‘moral leadership’ on climate change

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