Jesuits add their voice to COP21

Jesuit Missions supporters at the London Climate Change rally
Jesuit Missions supporters at the London Climate Change rally

World leaders have gathered in Paris for the COP21 climate change talks. Jesuits and their associates involved in environmental issues worldwide are also in the French capital for the conference that will run between 30 November and 11 December. It is hoped that during this conference nations will reach an agreement to limit emissions in order to prevent global warming surpassing 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of activists marched around the world to urge action on a global scale on the eve of a UN climate summit in Paris. Jesuit Missions supporters were among the 50,000 who marched through London in what was the UK's largest ever demonstration for action against climate change. Demonstrators gathered on Park Lane and marched through London, past Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and Parliament before finishing at Millbank, where speakers from a number of organisations addressed the crowd.

Clara Sheaf of Jesuit Missions says that she felt that taking part in the march was a concrete way of influencing the political debate. "Seeing so many people come out on a damp and blustery day was inspiring in itself and was evidence of people’s care for and commitment to the planet," she said afterwards. "The milder than usual conditions in their own way played their part by showing us that climate change isn’t an issue for tomorrow, it’s happening right now. And the fact that the Paris march was cancelled seemed to add a certain poignancy to proceedings and, by marching on their behalf, reminded us that both solidarity and a coordinated global effort are needed in the fight against climate change."

The future of the planet

In Paris this morning, the President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, told delegates that within 11 short days they “must reach a universal, ambitious climate agreement … The situation is urgent,” he said. “If nothing is done the situation will be irreversible.... The lives of millions of our brothers and sisters depend on our decisions here."

Solar panels are installed at the Vatican

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon said: "We have never faced such a test, political momentum like this may not come again... you have the power to secure the well-being of this and succeeding generations. The time for brinkmanship is over." Addressing world leaders and referring to the rallies on the streets of capitals around the world, he described COP21 as “a pivotal moment for your countries, your people and our common home, your planet. Let me be clear,” he said, “the fate of the Paris agreement rests with you. The future of our planet is in your hands, we cannot afford indecision … You have the moral and political responsibility for this world... history is calling, I urge you to answer with courage and vision."

Right: Solar panels are installed at the Vatican