Unified and resolute approach is critical to combat climate crisis

“Let us join together to strengthen climate action”

Caritas is sending a strong message to delegates as they begin meeting in Madrid for COP25, the 25th annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The message is simple. We must work together. The world is facing countries taking individual action – at the exact time where a unified and resolute approach to combatting the climate crisis is critical.

Caritas calls on all parties to stand up together for the international system set up by the United Nations and to take decisions at COP25 which ensure care for the environment, promote social justice and safeguard human rights by protecting people who are most vulnerable to climate change.

A Caritas delegation is at COP25 with member organizations from Peru, the United Kingdom, France, Poland and Spain, representing the Caritas family.

Caritas’ message on climate change

Dona Teca, 62, mother of the village leader, is a traditional healer and midwife. She makes plant-based medicines and does therapeutic massage. She began aged 14.

Dona Teca, 62, mother of the village leader, is an indigenous traditional healer and midwife in the Amazonas State, Brazil. She makes plant-based medicines and does therapeutic massage. She began aged 14. Photo by Marcella Haddad/Caritas

Just over a month ago, the unprecedented Synod on the Amazon ended at the Vatican. Now, the global Catholic community wants to see another major conference seriously considering the future of our planet and of humanity.

“It is a difficult moment for the fight against climate change,” said Adriana Opromolla, Food Security and Climate Change advocacy officer at Caritas Internationalis. “Cooperation between countries is the only way to save this critical situation. We saw only in September at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit, that the level of necessary ambition was lacking to keep a rise in temperature below 1.5 degrees centigrade. COP25 is an opportunity to scale up this ambition.”

The Caritas Confederation is participating at COP25 in the spirit of the Synod on the Amazon, with a call for unity, solidarity, justice and a special focus on Latin America and on indigenous peoples. The Presidency of COP25 is held by Chile.

The shocking magnitude of the recent fires in the Amazon has focused attention on the loss of ecosystems there and in other regions. Affected communities have suffered terrible loss and damage to their land and livelihoods. Some have been displaced.

“Caritas wants governments to be serious and generous at COP25 when they review the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage to make it fully operational, especially by providing adequate finance for loss and damage, which should be additional to funding for adaptation projects,” said Ms. Opromolla.

Cooperation under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

At COP24 a year ago in Poland, work remained unfinished around the mechanisms for international cooperation set by the 2105 Paris Agreement on climate change. Caritas believes this must be powerfully addressed at COP25 in Madrid so as to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees centigrade, not at the 3 degrees the world is heading towards.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement frames the cooperative mechanisms for countries to implement what is known as their NDCs – Nationally Determined Contributions to curb their emissions. While each country decides their own, their efforts are globally reviewed to keep track of overall efforts. This can prove a risk to reputations of countries if they don’t hit their targets or aim to be more ambitious, as well as highlight any ineffectiveness in the system.

Caritas is calling for robust rules to be adopted which ensure transparent and fair counting of carbon emissions reductions, and for proper participation for the communities concerned. Caritas is also calling for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in the realization of projects to reduce emissions.

Follow Caritas at the UN climate change talks – for further information, please contact Adriana Opromolla, email opromolla@caritas.va or Cristina Linaje, clinaje.ssgg@caritas.es.

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