An Intriguing source poised to reframe the “Climate Change” Conversation

An Intriguing source poised to reframe the “Climate Change” Conversation

By: Jill Mendoza When you hear the topic “Climate Change” your first thought may not be Pope Francis, but after a major U.N. Summit scheduled for December this year, that may change.  In fact, today there was a report on NPR about “a meeting in Bonn, Germany, where hundreds of people have gathered to work on a draft version of a major United Nations agreement to control greenhouse gas emissions that are changing the Earth’s climate.  The current U.N. meeting in Germany involves professional negotiators from basically every country in the world who have gathered together to edit an official document called a “negotiating text.” Anyone can read it on the U.N. website, which has pdfs you can download, not just in English, but in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and French, too.  The goal for these negotiators is to have a final edited version for the December Summit.” And now we are learning the discussion surrounding the subject of “Climate Change” is about to get what some predict will be a historic boost from an intriguing source: Pope Francis. I became aware of the Vatican’s recent history on the subject of Climate Change during a recent trip to Italy, where I not only saw some of the most beautiful art and architecture in the world, I learned that the Vatican City was one of the greenest states in the world. Of course the Vatican City is the smallest state in the world and it does not exactly require a large amount of renewable energy to achieve this title. However, the city’s solar installations generate enough energy to power all of its 40,000 households. The photo to the top left was taken on March 4, 2015 and if the picture was bigger and sharper you may be able to find me………just to the right of my friend Sue’s pink ipad case, at the bottom left of the large screen monitor. It was a beautiful day and a chance to see Pope Francis was one of the most amazing experiences in my entire life.  On this day Pope Francis surprised everyone by making his papal audience rounds an hour ahead of the normal schedule stepping off the Pope Mobile several times to personally hug, kiss and bless many along the route. The second photo was taken just few hundred yards away from St. Peter’s Square, where a large solar panel installation atop the roof of Paul VI Audience Hall is providing the Hall’s heating, cooling and lighting energy. And now getting back to U.N. Agreement………According to recent reports “Francis is putting the final touches on what may be the most authoritative papal teaching ever on the environment, a topic bound up with economics, Climate Change and politics and thus very controversial. Even though no one outside Francis’s inner circle has seen the document — called an encyclical — it’s already being lambasted by some religious and political conservatives and held up by environmentalists as a potential turning point in their movement.” Expected to be published in early summer the encyclical represents the first time in memory that such an important papal writing is being timed by a pope to influence a civil process — in this case, a major U.N. summit in December on climate change. Anthony Annett, a climate change advisor and Catholic writer brought on to the prominent Earth Institute at Columbia University, noted: “the fact that Francis chose to name his papacy after the patron saint of animals and the environment and is the most re-tweeted person on the planet, one would expect the expectations among environmentalists to soar.  I’ve never seen such buzz about a papal document in my life,” he said. There are definitely a lot of expectations about a document no one has actually seen. And with Francis, as I learned on that beautiful March morning, we should expect the unexpected.

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