September 21, 2009

Cardinal says climate talks must focus on the poor

by David Masters

World leaders must stop “political wrangling” over climate change and set aside national self-interest for the sake of the poorest people in the world, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland said this week.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said politicians meeting this week in New York for UN climate talks have an “unequivocal moral obligation” to address the damage caused to the environment by the actions of rich nations.

“Climate change is another situation where the poor of the world are paying for the over-consumption of the rich,” the cardinal said.

“Global warming is too important an issue for political wrangling and short-term national interest.

“Leaders should be getting down to serious negotiations for the sake of all humanity.

“Instead we are seeing political disagreements and a lack of commitment.

“The lives of millions of people in the developing world, who have done least to cause the problem, are at stake.”

He called on wealthy nations to provide an additional $150 billion to help poor communities adapt to climate change.

Cardinal O’Brien is representing a coalition of Catholic aid agencies at the UN discussions in New York.

The talks are part of the preliminary discussions before world leaders meet in Copenhagen later this year to agree new climate targets to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

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