Journeying Together for Climate Justice

The COP27 UN climate change conference will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, between 6 and 18 November 2022. The conference is expected to bring out various critical aspects of needed action to tackle the climate change crisis.  Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu urged developed nations to lead the way in addressing the current global climate crisis, describing it as “a tragic and striking example of structural sin” driven by indifference and greed.

The Cardinal said: “The climate crisis is a lived reality for people across Africa. Recent summer heatwaves in the north of the continent have caused massive social and economic losses and damages, breaking temperature records and severely disrupting agri-food systems in an already hungry region. Storms and cyclones early in the year caused devastation in Southern Africa, resulting in the destruction of homes and the loss of lives. Eastern Africa is facing the worst food crisis in a generation, precipitated by extreme drought. In West Africa, cities are flooded, communities in the creeks are submerged, conflicts which have simmered for years are now intensifying due to climate-induced displacement.”

He continued: “Wherever you look on this continent, a continent already struggling due to an unjust global economic system, you see climate change holding back the potential for development. Sometimes it is difficult to see the solutions to this complex situation. We can, however, be certain of a few things. For example, we know that the Global North is largely responsible for the climate crisis and must contribute their fair share to address it. This means leading the way in emissions reductions, providing funding for climate adaptation, loss and damage, and supporting countries in the Global South to achieve just levels of development within planetary boundaries.”

The archbishop of Kinshasa underlines the importance of the Catholic Social teaching. He pointed out: “We know that the most promising solutions will reflect key principles of Catholic Social Teaching, such as the common good, justice between generations, care for our common home and the preferential option for the poor. We also know what other solutions won’t: the solutions to this crisis must not continue the business-as-usual approach that is responsible for creating the problem in the first place and will only enrich wealthy nations and individuals at the expense of the world’s poor.”

Finally, the cardinal said: “Climate change is a moral outrage. It is a tragic and striking example of structural sin, facilitated by callous indifference and selfish greed. The climate crisis is leading to the destruction of our planet, the devastation of the lives of the poor, and the detriment of future generations. We, Church leaders and civil society organisations in Africa and beyond, demand world leaders, business leaders and decision makers to heed to this important communiqué, and in so doing, heed to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.”

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