Pope prays for success at Climate Change conference

Delegates at COP21 in Paris are aiming for a just and binding agreement over climate change
Delegates at COP21 in Paris are aiming for a just and binding agreement over climate change

As COP21 goes into its second week, Pope Francis has invoked the Holy Spirit upon delegates meeting for the Climate Change conference in Paris. In his address after the Angelus yesterday, he prayed for the conference’s success, saying that it was vital for humanity.

Speaking to thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said that as he is following the work of the conference closely. He also reiterated the question he asked in his recent encyclical Laudato Si: "What kind of world do we want to pass on to those who come after us, to the children who are growing up?”

 “For the sake of the common home we share and for future generations, every effort should be made in Paris to mitigate the impact of climate change,” Pope Francis said, “and, at the same time, to tackle poverty and to let human dignity flourish … Let us pray, that the Holy Spirit will enlighten all who are called to take such important decisions and give them the courage to always use as their criterion of choice the greater good of the human family.''

A world of environmental awarenessJesuit Missions staff and supporters joined the Climate Change rally in London, November 2015

"Already, major economies like the US are sticking to their guns and defending democrat agendas regarding climate," says Samantha Aidoo, the Education for Justice Coordinator at Jesuit Missions. "China has also pledged significant funds to helping developing countries with their green agendas. Notably, developing countries have voiced their concerns about how any new climate deal could disproportionately affect them. Clearly, compromise will be a strong value in these talks, and it will be fascinating to see how this can be manoeuvred between 195 countries and 40,000 people."

From a Jesuit perspective, it is hoped that whatever the change is, it symbolises an ‘ecological conversion’. Pope Francis' strong words in his encyclical and subsequently at the United Nations are a call for palpable changes in action and not just attitude.

"Here in the Jesuit Missions office, we are taking our role seriously," adds Samantha. "Being part of a Climate Coalition has thrust us into this world of environmental awareness. Through our reading of Laudato Si, we have become informed and united in our support for a global climate deal. We continue to be inspired by the activism of Jesuits on the ground in Paris and around the world to Care for Our Common Home. And we shall continue to look upon our leaders in Paris and wait with breaths bated for real change."

Jesuit Missions will be incorporating the teachings of Laudato Si into their educational resources in 2016 and will be encouraging schools to take action. Above: Jesuit Missions staff and supporters joined the UK's largest ever demonstration for action against climate change in London, November 2015.