VATICAN CITY — The Vatican delegation to the U.N. Climate Change Conference has urged parties to deliver on the financing, resources and standards needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
“The ambitious commitments made by states to limit the rise of the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to provide the needed financial resources to do so are promising and indeed essential for the survival of the most vulnerable communities,” the Vatican delegation said in its statement delivered Nov. 11.
“The Holy See delegation appreciates the commitments that states have made in their pledges. While there is more to be done, it is important to be proactive in finding effective ways to implement the pledges made,” it said during the COP26 conference being held Oct. 31-Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
One draft of the COP26 agreement published early Nov. 12 noted “with concern that the current provision of climate finance for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to worsening climate change impacts in developing country parties.”
The draft urged developed nations “to urgently and significantly scale up their provision of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for adaptation so as to respond to the needs of developing country parties.”
The draft also noted “with deep regret that the goal of developed country parties to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation has not yet been met.”
This need to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly for poorer or more vulnerable nations, was a major concern for the Vatican delegation.
“During these two weeks, various ‘gaps’ have emerged in the fields of mitigation, adaptation and financing,” which are fundamental for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the delegation said in its Nov. 11 statement.
The needed resources must be made available and the delegation “hopes that COP26 can reach an agreement on a clear road map to close these gaps soon, with developed countries taking the lead.”
“The issue of loss and damage is particularly critical to those communities that are most vulnerable to climate change,” it said, adding that “Pope Francis has clearly emphasized the ecological debt and the solidarity that industrialized countries owe to the poor.”
Even though Pope Francis did not attend in person as he had hoped, “he was there in spirit,” with his teaching and appeals represented throughout the summit, both at the high-level talks by the Vatican delegation and by the many Catholic organizations and parishes present and active on the sidelines, said Christine Allen, the director of CAFOD, the Catholic international development agency in England and Wales, which had a representative on the Vatican delegation.
“It was a shame” he could not be there because “he is like the biggest celebrity, really,” and with these kinds of events, his presence may have drawn more media attention, she told Catholic News Service Nov. 16.
COP26 was a major disappointment, the agency stated Nov. 13, particularly for CAFOD’s partners who work with poor communities, because it did not deliver the urgent action or justice required. Action to limit temperature increases has been pushed to next year and wealthier nations failed to deliver on desperately needed climate finance, it said.
And yet, there was an unprecedented call in the agreement to accelerate the phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, the CAFOD statement said, even though there was no clear deadline and vague language left gaping loopholes.
Those most vulnerable to climate change and Indigenous peoples were present at the summit like other years, “but it did feel that their voices were a little bit more center stage than they had been in the past,” she said.