Students hold banners calling for action against climate change in Milan, Italy, in May 2019. (Photo: Wikipedia)
Climate change is a global problem that requires the commitment and collective response of all humanity, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.
In a video message Jan. 25 to the virtual Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands, Cardinal Parolin said that the scientific data available shows "the urgent need for swift action within a context of ethics, equity and social justice."
"Nothing can be accomplished by working alone," he said. "The COVID-19 pandemic teaches it very well."
According to the U.N. Development Program website, the Jan. 25-26 conference was to gather global leaders and local stakeholders to seek solutions to challenges faced by societies and economies due to climate change.
"It will see the launch of a comprehensive Adaptation Action Agenda that sets out clear commitments to deliver concrete new endeavors and partnerships to make our world more resilient to the effects of climate change," the website stated.
In his message, Cardinal Parolin extended Pope Francis' greetings to the participants and expressed the pope's "closeness, support and encouragement."
"We all know that climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political, and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day," he said.
Acknowledging the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Cardinal Parolin highlighted that it was a problem "not only of the domain of technology, but also a question of consumption patterns, education and lifestyles."
"This is a moral and humanitarian imperative, especially since the greatest negative consequences of climate change often affect the most vulnerable: the poor and future generations," he said.
Although the poor are the least responsible for global warming, he added, they are affected the most by it "since they have the least adaptive capacity and often live in geographical areas which are particularly at risk."
Cardinal Parolin encouraged world leaders at the conference to a "global and shared long-term strategy" that can effectively define a new model of development "built on the synergistic bond between the fight against climate change and the struggle against poverty."
"We are standing before a momentous challenge for the benefit of the common good. We have no alternative but to make every effort to implement a responsible, unprecedented collective response, intended to work together to build our common home," Cardinal Parolin said.