Pope Francis Reflects on 3 Decades of International Cooperation on Climate Change

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on Nov. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Only a few days after the United States officially gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, Pope Francis took the opportunity to praise a gathering of environmental regulators meeting in Rome this week.

In a statement to participants of the 31st meeting for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the pope praised the international community’s three decades of international cooperation to combat climate change and reinforced the Vatican state’s commitment to safeguarding the environment.

“We are in fact facing a ‘cultural’ challenge either for or against the common good,” Francis wrote in a message read by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters on Thursday (Nov. 7).

“Here, an honest and fruitful dialogue truly capable of listening to different needs and free of special interests, together with a spirit of solidarity and creativity, are essential for the building of the present and future of our planet,” the message read.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the first international treaty to be universally ratified at the U.N., was signed in 1987 and became effective two years later. It aims to protect the ozone layer by lowering the emission of substances that deplete it and risk raising the temperature of the planet to uninhabitable levels.

Successful not only in terms of its implementation, but in the speed and efficiency with which it was adopted, the treaty was once hailed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date.”

Pope Francis described the Montreal Protocol as “a model of international cooperation.”

In his message, released days after the United States sent an official letter to the U.N. on Monday announcing its intention of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in November 2020, Francis said there were three lessons to be drawn from the three decades of cooperation under the Montreal pact.

“First, to give real life to dialogue for the sake of shared responsibility for the care of our common home, one in which no one ‘absolutizes’ his or her own point of view. Then, to make technological solutions part of a broader vision that takes into consideration the variety of existing relationships.

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Source: Religion News Service