At Vatican, Patricia Espinosa Calls for “Ark of Climate Ambition”

By UN Climate Change News

At the Vatican in Rome today, the UN’s top climate change official Patricia Espinosa has called for “an ark of ambition” to tackle climate change.

Alluding to Noah’s ark, the biblical vessel that saved humanity from extinction, and the need to peak and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, including massive floods and sea level rise, she said:

If we truly want to make the fundamental, transformative changes [necessary to combat climate change], perhaps what we need then is not a physical ark, but an ark of ambition,”

The Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change was speaking at an International Conference entitled “Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth” in the Vatican (5 and 6 July).

Organized to coincide with the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Sì”, the event is being attended by Vatican officials and leading climate experts.

Ms. Espinosa made a passionate appeal to leaders of all faiths to heed the many warning signs of accelerating climate change, and to draw the consequences:

“Climate change doesn’t care if we’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or other—but through a unity of efforts, we can address it”, she said.

At the Vatican, Ms. Espinosa outlined the key tasks nations need to accomplish in order to effectively combat climate change  –  including finalizing the implementation guidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreementthis year, and sticking to their promises to deliver USD 100 billion annually by 2020 to support the climate action efforts of developing countries.

The event at the Vatican marks the 3rd anniversary of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical, published just months ahead of the Paris UN Climate Change Conference in France at which the Paris Agreement was inked.

The encyclical is credited with providing key momentum for the successful clinching of the agreement, as it convinced millions of Catholics world-wide of the urgency to act.

Pope Francis has been strongly speaking out in favor of climate action since then.

Addressing oil and gas executives last month, he urged them to rapidly transition to clean fuels in order to avert climate disaster.

Watch Ms. Espinosa´s speech here.

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