Pope urges action to implement Paris climate agreement
Pope Francis praised world leaders for reaching an agreement in the last week’s Paris climate talks, saying “The conference on climate has just concluded in Paris with the adoption of an agreement, defined by many as historic”. He made his speech as he led pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the Angelus after returning from celebrating Mass in the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Pope urged international leaders “to promptly continue the path taken, as a sign of solidarity which becomes ever more active”. He called on the international community to put the agreed plan into action straight away, though he admitted that implementing the plan will require “a concerted and generous commitment on the part of each one,”. In his message Francis also expressed his hope that the agreement would pay special attention to those who were most vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change.
The Vatican was represented by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin among the leaders of 150 nations present for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 meeting in Paris, The aim of the COP-21 summit on climate change was to establish legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and find ways of holding global average temperatures under a two degrees Celsius increase over preindustrial global temperatures.
Following the Paris agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by half of what is needed to prevent an increase in atmospheric temperatures of two degrees Celsius, Every country is required to participate and put forward its own plan to cut carbon emissions through 2025-2030. The agreement also legally requires countries to meet every five years beginning in 2023 in order to report publicly on the progress they made compared to their plans.