Bishop Hayes: we must act to prevent the natural world in which we live from collapsing

30 Nov, 2023 | Bishops, Church, News, Pope

Ahead of the 30 November opening in Dubai of COP28 – the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – Bishop Martin Hayes of Kilmore, the Irish Bishops’ Coordinator for Laudato Si’ / Laudate Deum as well as issues relating to the climate crisis, has formally requested to meet with Minister for the Environment, Minister Eamon Ryan, and all political party spokespeople North and South, to discuss the climate crisis and Ireland’s commitments for COP28.

Bishop Martin Hayes said, “carbon capture, and economics, won’t solve our climate crisis.  The Bishops’ Laudato Si’ Working Group (LSWG) has highlighted the following four priorities which need to be actioned to help arrest the deteriorating climate crisis.  These highlights are:

  • COP28 needs to agree on operating the ‘Loss and Damage fund’, reflecting the highest level of accountability and compliance with core principles of equity and historic responsibility.
  • Ireland should show leadership on Loss and Damage fund by announcing a significant contribution.
  • Loss and Damage fund needs to be urgently capitalised and human rights based, with direct access to impacted communities.
  • Ireland can commit to Energy Transition by pledging support to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Bishop Hayes said, “I have written to Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, as well as to all frontbench environmental spokespersons of political parties North and South, seeking an urgent meeting with regard to Ireland’s commitments for COP28.  In my correspondence to politicians, I enclosed a copy of Pope Francis’ recent publication that focuses on the climate crisis facing humanity, Laudate Deum, while also stating, “In his 2015 ground-breaking encyclical letter on care for creation Laudato Si, Pope Francis placed emphasis on our interconnectedness as human beings with our natural world.  On 4 October last, the Feast of the patron of the environment, Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis issued a supplementary document, Laudate Deum, ‘to clarify and complete’ Laudato Si’ (LD, 4).

In Laudate Deum, the Holy Father highlights the consequences of ignoring that interconnectedness, ie in seeing ourselves as separate from our natural world.  In view of the ever-increasing global emissions – now comprehensively linked to the recent environmental disasters around our world and their impact upon the poorest and most vulnerable – we are strongly encouraged by the Pope to act, for ‘the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point’ (LD, 2).”

The members of the LSWG are: Bishop Hayes, Vivek da Silva, Dr Cathriona Russell, Noirin Lynch, Dr Lorna Gold, Father Sean McDonagh SSC, Professor John Sweeney, Father Brian Grogan SJ, Dr Gary Carville, Father Michael Long SPMS, Jane Mellett, Sister Patricia Lynott RJM, Laura Madrigal, and Kate Liffey.

Irish Bishops have signed the following faith leaders’ statement on Loss and Damage for COP28, and encourage leaders in parishes and dioceses to do likewise.   It was compiled by CIDSE, an international family of Christian social justice organisations, including Trócaire, that are working for transformational change to end poverty and inequalities, challenging systemic injustice, inequity, destruction of nature and promoting just and environmentally sustainable alternatives.  The current President of CIDSE is Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire.  Click here for the faith leaders’ statement.

For the full statement of Bishop Hayes click here

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