UN COP 21 Summit Opens in Paris

Global Catholic Climate Movement Delivers U.S. Petition Signatures to President Obama

(Washington, DC) Today, world leaders are gathered in Paris for the U. N. Climate Summit (COP21), providing a window of opportunity for people around the world to raise their voices in calling for ambitious and binding international legislation to limit the effects of climate change before it is too late. Columbans are in Paris today for the opening.

On November 29, a million or more men, women and children took part in the Global Climate March. They gathered in all the major capitols of the world, and some 3,000 other cities to deliver a strong message to the world’s leaders to take action on climate change.

In Washington D.C., the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach joined hundreds of others to deliver this message to the White House.

Inspired by Pope Francis, nearly a million Catholics from around the world joined their voices by signing the Catholic Climate Petition, calling world leaders to take action. The petition, promoted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, was endorsed by Pope Francis as well as many bishops and cardinals around the world, including Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Bishop, Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley in Boston.

Last Wednesday, a delegation of representatives of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), including Scott Wright from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, delivered to the White House petition signatures from Catholics all over the country asking world leaders at the Paris Climate Summit (COP21) to take bold action on climate change. Melissa Rogers, of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives was on hand to receive the copies. These signatures are part of the Catholic Climate Petition launched by GCCM in April with signatories from 130 different countries around the world.

Scott Wright, from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington D.C. appealed to a sense of urgency for bold action on climate change: “For some time now, Columbans around the world have witnessed the impact of climate change on the poor and vulnerable, including devastating typhoons in the Philippines, severe droughts in Pakistan, rising sea levels in Fiji, and melting glaciers in Peru. Climate change is also creating climate refugees, and always, it is the poor, especially women and children, who suffer.”

Ann Scholz of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a member of today's delegation, remarked, "Each of us has a responsibility to cooperate with God to protect our common home and to care for all of creation. The LCWR is hopeful that the 2015 Paris Climate Conference will lead to a robust agreement to protect our common home for present and future generations."

Marianne Comfort representing the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas' Institute Justice Team stated "Our sisters in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines who are experiencing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating storms have been crying out for our action on this issue. We hope that world leaders will heed of Pope Francis' moral imperative to work for a more just and sustainable world."

"In Laudato Si', Pope Francis encourages us to see the connections between environmental destruction, the poor, and our Christian vocation," stated Jason Miller of the Franciscan Action Network. "With the U.S. as one of the world's largest carbon polluters, we are called to find ways to act in solidarity with the poor who are most vulnerable to our changing climate."

Chloe Schwabe of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns was also part of today's delegation, representing hundreds of Maryknoll missionaries around the world.

The full text of the petition states: "Climate change affects everyone, but especially the poor and most vulnerable people among us. Inspired by Pope Francis and the Laudato Si' encyclical, we call on you to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous 1.5°C threshold, and to aid the world's poorest in coping with climate change impacts."

“The Missionary Society of St. Columban is a Catholic missionary order founded in 1918. As missionary disciples of Jesus, we are called to heal, reconcile, build bridges, and create mutual understanding through prophetic dialogue. Our commitment to inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue, solidarity with marginalized people and the exploited earth are ways we participate in God’s mission. Our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus challenges us to build communities of peace.”

A photo taken at the Petition Delivery can be found here:
The petition and recent signatures count can be found here: catholicclimatemovement.global/petition

Pictures of Pope Francis endorsing the petition can be found here: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/pope-francis-endorsed-catholic-climate-petition/

Pictures of cardinals and bishops who have supported the petition can be found here: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/endorsers/

Pictures of Catholics collecting petitions around the world can be found here: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/petition/updates/

Founded in January 2015, the GCCM is a coalition of over 250 Catholic organizations working to respond to the moral imperative of the climate change crisis. Further information can be found at http://catholicclimatemovement.global/

Christina Leano, Global Campaigns Coordinator of GCCM
+1 786-459-5667 | christina@catholicclimatemovement.global

Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights. For more information: https://franciscanaction.org/