MESSAGE OF CARDINAL PIETRO
PAROLIN, SECRETARY OF STATE,
TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE CONFERENCE ON "THE NEW CLIMATE.
HOW ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITY CAN GO HAND IN HAND"
Rome, May 20, 2015
I have the honour to send warm greetings to all participating in today’s
Conference on “The New Climate
Economy. How Economic Growth and Sustainability Can Go Hand in Hand”.
I would like to start my brief reflection by recalling the following passage
of the Encyclical Letter Caritas
in veritate of Pope
Benedict XVI: “the human
consequences of current tendencies towards a short-term economy — sometimes
very short-term — need to be carefully evaluated. This requires further
and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals, as
well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of
development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations. This is
demanded, in any case, by the earth’s state of ecological health; above all
it is required by the cultural and moral crisis of man, the symptoms of
which have been evident for some time all over the world” (n.
These words can be a significant source of inspiration for this Conference,
which seeks to explore the compatibility between economic growth and
sustainability as well as developing the so-called “win-win opportunities”
that would help achieve these two important goals for the benefit of present
and future generations.
Many studies, such as that made by the New Climate Economy Report, show
various possibilities for enhancing the complementarities between these two
The Conference is timely given that two important preparatory processes of
the United Nations system are underway: the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015
development agenda and the UNFCCC COP-21 in Paris, next December, to adopt a
new agreement on facing the adverse effects of climate change. Both of them
represent the serious ethical and moral responsibility that each of us has
towards the whole human family, especially the poor and future generations.
In his Message to COP-20 in Lima, Pope Francis underlined clearly the “gravity
of neglect and inaction. The time to find global solutions is running out.
We can find appropriate solutions only if we act together and in agreement.
There is therefore a clear, definitive and urgent ethical imperative to act.
An effective fight against global warming will be possible only through a
responsible collective action, which overcomes particular interests and
behaviours and develops unfettered by political and economic pressures. A
collective response which is also capable of overcoming mistrust and of
fostering a culture of solidarity, of encounter and of dialogue; capable of
demonstrating responsibility to protect the planet and the human family.”
When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers,
barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the
effects of environmental and social degradation. There is no room for the
globalization of indifference, the economy of exclusion or the throwaway
culture so often denounced by Pope Francis (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii
Gaudium, 52, 53, 59).
Of course, the path is not easy, since this ethical and moral responsibility
calls into question the resetting of the development model, requiring a
major political and economic commitment. However, as I said to the UN
Climate Summit on 23 September 2014,“the
technological and operational bases needed to facilitate this mutual
responsibility are already available or within our reach. We have the
capacity to start and strengthen a true and beneficial process which will
irrigate, as it were, through adaptation and mitigation activities, the
field of economic and technological innovation where it is possible to
cultivate two interconnected objectives: combating poverty and easing the
effects of climate change.”
It is my earnest hope, and I am sure that it is possible, that this
Conference can make a strong contribution in this direction, taking into
account that “the dignity of
each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which
ought to shape all economic policies” (Pope
Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii
Gaudium, n. 203).
With sentiments of esteem and respect, may I convey to you the prayerful
best wishes of His Holiness Pope Francis and his hope that the discussions
and reflections of this Conference may contribute to further
and deepen reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals, as
well as to finding ways to guarantee access to a truly integral human
development for all, especially the poor and the future generations.
Pietro Card. Parolin
Secretary of State