A report published by the Vatican last week continues the Vatican’s trend towards working for environmental reform. The report was published based on findings at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ climate change conference hosted last month. The conference was meant to discuss the risk and effects of land glacial depletion.
The report’s basic summary section states, that “the widespread loss of glaciers, ice, and snow on the mountains of tropical, temperate, and polar regions is some of the clearest evidence we have for a change in the climate system, which is taking place on a global scale at a rapid rate.” The report goes on to refute opponent’s claims about climate change as a natural cycle and other common arguments before concluding the section and offering three major suggestions.
These suggestions can be abbreviated as:
- Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible to meet ambitious international global warming targets and ensure the long-term stability of the climate system.
- Reduce the concentrations of warming air pollutants (dark soot, methane, lower atmosphere ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons) by as much as 50%.
- Prepare to adapt to the climatic changes, both chronic and abrupt, that society will be unable to mitigate.
The report goes into more specifics in later sections on the effects of glacial depletion and the damages it can cause, including rising sea level, unsafe mountain lakes, and much more. The report serves as a clear document, to those who need one, as an update on what we now know about climate change and its causes and the impact on glacial melting. It can be read online here.
The new pope Benedict XVI has often been called the ‘green pope’ for speaking up in favor of environmental reforms. After taking measures to reduce energy used at the Vatican, including installing solar cooling units, this study shows his commitment to discovering the truth about climate change. However, a spokesman for the Vatican says this does not mean that climate change prevention is a key teaching point of the Catholic Church, but that they do see it as an important problem that must be combated. Either way it’s good to have one of the largest world religious leaders with us.
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