Media CenterCRS Applauds the Paris Climate Change Accord
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
The Accord Reached in Paris at the Conference of Paris
(COP21) is an Important Step in Caring for Our Common Home
BALTIMORE, MD, December 16, 2015 – “This agreement leads us in the direction that Pope Francis was hoping the world would take when he issued Laudato Si',” said Catholic Relief Services (CRS) president Carolyn Woo, referring to Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment. “It shows that the delegates from all over the world were unified by a profound question – what sort of world are we going to leave our children?”
The official goal of the accord is to maintain a temperature rise of below 2 degrees centigrade, the point at which many scientists agree marks irreversible and catastrophic damage to our environment. The agreement aligns the world with the expectation that there will be future meetings to adjust country targets and openly report on progress meeting them.
Just as important, the agreement makes clear that significant financial support will be needed to help vulnerable citizens in developing countries adapt and cope with the effects of climate change. Thus, a key component of the agreement has been funding of the Green Climate Fund, a new international fund that will help poor countries adapt to the realities of climate change and reduce their own carbon emissions.
Catholic Relief Services has already seen the impacts of climate change around the world: for example, many poor farmers in Central America can no longer plant coffee because average temperatures are now too hot. Adaption funding, as will be provided by the Green Climate Fund, will help these farmers transition to other crops, or take other steps that will allow them to continue to make a living.
Secretary of State John Kerry also announced during the negotiations that, in addition to pledges already made to support the Green Climate Fund, the United States will double the funding it provides for adaptation support to poor countries.
“This agreement is certainly worth celebrating,” said Lori Pearson, CRS’ Senior Technical Advisor on climate issues who was in Paris for much of COP21. “But the toughest work lies ahead as it is put into action in a way that sustains both the planet and continued prosperity, especially for the poor and vulnerable."
Among other things, the agreement includes:
- Voluntary commitments by all countries to reduce greenhouse gases.
- A commitment to renew these voluntary commitments every five years, with the goal towards achieving more ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at each interval.
- Regular assessment of how climate change is being impacted by the collective steps that are being taken.
- Reporting by each country on their greenhouse gas emissions by source, and the steps they are taking to mitigate (reduce) greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reiteration of the commitment to help developing countries transition to low-carbon development, including through the Green Climate Fund.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.