Catholic bishops lobby for end to fossil fuels, UN agrees to climate change negotiations

by Christian Examiner |

LIMA, Peru (Christian Examiner) -- Catholic bishops joined with various United Nations members to call for a worldwide end to fossil fuels at the organization's Conference of Parties or COP20, and it seems their effort has succeeded. On Monday, 60 leaders of various countries agreed on a negotiating text to aim for "zero net emissions by 2050," which will be signed and put into action in Paris a year from now.

The bishops, who help lead 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, lobbied at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to "ensure concrete decisions are taken at COP21 to overcome the climate challenge and to set us on new sustainable pathways." It is the first time in the Catholic Church's history that bishops from every continent have come together for climate change.

"As the church, we see and feel an obligation for us to protect creation and to challenge the misuse of nature. We felt this joint statement had to come now because Lima is a milestone on the way to Paris, and Paris has to deliver a binding agreement," Monsignor Salvador Pinero Garcia-Calderon, the Archbishop of Ayacucho and president of the Peruvian Bishop's Conference, said in a statement.

The bishops want to "protect frontline communities suffering from the impacts of climate change," which would require the tough standards of keeping global warming below 1.5C and phasing in 100 percent renewable energy.

The U.N.'s COP20 resulted in an aim of "a long-term zero emissions sustainable development pathway," according to the Guardian.

"Consistent with emissions peaking for developed countries in 2015, with an aim of zero net emissions by 2050; in the context of equitable access to sustainable development," the document reads. "Consistent with carbon neutrality/net zero emissions by 2050, or full decarbonization by 2050 and/or negative emissions by 2100."

A more permanent path of action will be decided in Paris, France, next year. The U.N.'s COP20 has only six negotiating weeks until then.