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2018 Joint Statement on Climate Justice by Bishops’ Conferences

The following appeal is issued by the Church leaders of the continental groupings of episcopal conferences. It is addressed to government leaders and representatives and it calls on them to work towards an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement for the people and the planet. In particular, we ask for a COP24 Summit (Katowice, Poland, December 2018) able to prove a milestone on the ath t out in 2015 in Paris.

Faced with the growing urgency of the current ecological and social crisis, building on and inspired by the work done on the ground over the past three years by so many courageous actors around the world ‐ within the Catholic Church and beyond ‐ to promote and “live” the messages carried by the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, we call for ambitious and immediate action to be taken in order to tackle and overcome the devastating effects of the climate crisis. These actions need to be taken by the international community at all levels: by persons, communities, cities, regions, nations.

We have heard “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”. We have listened to the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and we stand in solidarity with our Brother Bishops who have already taken stances against the limitless and dangerous use and exploitation of our Mother Earth’s resources, as well as our current models of development, supported by financial institutions and systems that put life, community, solidarity, and well‐being on earth after profit, wealth and unbridled growth. We must be prepared to make rapid and radical changes (LS171) and resist the temptation to look for solutions to our current situation in short‐term technological fixes without addressing the root causes and the long‐term consequences.

Our call is based on the following principles:Urgency • Intergenerational justice • Human dignity and rights

And therefore we demand policies that include and acknowledge the following calls and elements:

• 1.5°C to stay alive
• We need a deep and durable shift towards sustainable lifestyles 
• Special traditions and knowledge of Indigenous communities must be listened to, effectively protected and preserved
• A financial paradigm shift is necessary
• The energy sector must be transformed
• We must rethink the agriculture sector

The above mentioned points are also at the heart of the several actions the wide Catholic community is carrying out to turn the vision of Laudato Si’ and the Paris Agreement into practice. We renew our commitment to take bold steps to live the change we call for within our institutions. We firmly believe that this ecological conversion is also a spiritual challenge. We encourage all the initiatives within and beyond the Catholic Church that already witness that living more sustainably is possible, achievable and fairer. Ultimately, this is key to the survival of human kind.

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco, President, CCEE, Archbishop of Genoa
Oswald Cardinal Gracias, President, FABC, Archbishop of Mumbai
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, President, FCBCO, Archbishop of Suva
Archbishop Jean‐Claude Hollerich, President, COMECE, Archbishop of Luxembourg
Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi, President, SECAM, Archbishop of Lubango

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