Durban climate change conference underway

2011-11-28 Vatican Radio

On Sunday Pope Benedict expressed the hope that “all members of the international community might reach agreement on a responsible, credible response,” to the phenomenon of climate change, which he described as “complex” and “disturbing”. In remarks, which followed the Angelus, the Holy Father also asked that leaders’ response be consonant with the spirit and requirements of solidarity, taking into account the needs of the poorest people and future generations. His remarks came ahead of a UN Climate Change Conference which begins today in Durban, South Africa. South Africa's International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane is chairing the conference. She explained the importance of the meeting. “It is predicted that climate change will cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as floods and droughts, threatening food security”. At stake is the future of the Kyoto accord, which calls on wealthy nations to reduce carbon emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels by the end of next year. Poor countries want the industrial nations to commit to more cuts for a second period, saying the protocol is the only legal instrument ever adopted to control carbon and other gases that trap the Earth's heat. The wealthy countries, however, say they cannot carry the burden alone, and want rapidly developing countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa to join their own legally binding regime to slow their emissions growth and move toward low-carbon economies. Also high on the conference agenda is the management of the Green Climate Fund – worth $100 billion annually – to help poor countries cope with changing climate conditions. Questions remain how the money will be governed and distributed, but more immediately, how those funds can be generated from new sources beyond established development channels from the West. Listen to Sean Patrick Lovett’s report: 00:01:38:26