Under PH prodding, Vatican moves to support 1.5 goal
PARIS—The Philippine delegation to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in this city issued a press statement late today, Thursday, announcing the Vatican’s support for the high-ambition goal of “below 1.5 degrees.”
The Holy See, a “permanent observer” in the United Nations system and an observer at COP21, had initially supported the 2-degree goal—a cap in the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees or less since pre-industrial levels.
But after the second bilateral meeting between the Philippine and Vatican delegations in three days, diplomats representing the Holy See said they were now supporting the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees. The goal is a key advocacy of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which the Philippines currently chairs, and the Vatican’s influential support comes in the final days of the negotiations.
“Free the text. Take down the brackets. We support option two [in Article 2 of the draft Paris agreement],” said Monsignor Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, referring to the section calling for the parties to “rapidly scale up global efforts to limit temperature increase to below 1.5 °C.”
Auza was joined by Paolo Conversi of the Secretariat of State and Tebaldo Vinciguerra of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace. They met with Secretary Nereus O. Acosta, presidential adviser, and former Senator Heherson Alvarez of the Philippine Climate Change Commission.
“We welcome the support of the Holy See behind the overwhelming majority of parties to the UNFCCC who want to see the below 1.5 °C limit enshrined in the Paris accord,” Acosta said.
“We hope the Vatican’s position can give strength to the remaining countries hesitating to support real climate ambition. In these last hours, we are calling on all countries to stand in solidarity with billions of people alive and unborn, and to support the below 1.5°C global warming goal.”
“We have a moral duty to keep warming to a minimum, and it is still feasible to limit warming to 1.5°C,” he said.
Earlier, Auza told INQUIRER.net that the Holy See was studying the possibility of acceding to the 1992 UN Framework Convention as early as January, so it can be in a position to sign the Paris agreement.
By the count of the Philippine delegation, a total of 114 countries now endorse the inclusion of the below 1.5°C global warming target in the final Paris climate agreement. “This follows confirmation also today from Canada for its support for inclusion of a reference to the 1.5°C limit in the Paris agreement to the Philippine delegation by France Jacovella, Director General at the Environment and Climate Change Ministry of Canada,” the press statement read.
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