Vatican Says Biden Presidency Can Play ‘Key Role’ in Paris Climate Deal

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The Vatican COVID-19 Commission announced Thursday that it is organizing a webinar next week in preparation for a December 12 global climate summit to be co-hosted by the United Nations and the UK to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

In its preparatory document, the Vatican team lamented the lack of initiative and commitment around the Paris climate goals, something it said needs to gain renewed momentum ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.”More than 195 Paris Agreement signatories have promised to update their 2015 commitments before the end of 2020, but no major emitting countries have formally submitted new commitments to the UNFCCC,” the text states. “The result of US elections can play a key role in the next weeks’ developments.”

When President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Paris accord, he said he did so to fulfil his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens.””The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” Mr. Trump declared, “leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.””As someone who cares deeply about the environment,” Trump said, “I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States… while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.”

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said, noting that large polluters like China and India are not subject to the same requirements imposed on the United States.

In Thursday’s text, the Vatican states that governments “need an immediate response to shifting the global economy from fossil fuels” in order to avoid “catastrophic effects, including destabilizing heat waves, severe floods, and a sharp rise in sea level.”

“Particularly, industrialized countries must act quickly to meet their net-zero targets before 2050 to achieve the Paris targets,” the document declares. “Adequate and consistent financial support must be delivered to vulnerable countries to adapt to the climate-related devastation that they are already experiencing.”

At the upcoming climate summit, “national governments will be requested to present more ambitious, high-quality climate plans involving government leaders, the private sector, and civil society,” the Vatican text states. “More than ever, the ethical imperative of climate inaction will be accentuated. This summit should remind us of the urgent need to take concrete action to recognize our reliance on a healthy planet and to work together for transformative change.”