Climate Change Conference

According to a Vatican press release, the Holy See has a delegation at the ongoing climate talks in Bali:

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 4, 2007 (VIS) - The 13th session of the conference of States parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held on the Indonesian island of Bali from December 3 to 14.

A communique made public yesterday afternoon affirms that the Holy See will be present at the Bali meeting with a delegation led by Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, and composed of Msgr. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, nunciature counsellor in Jakarta, and of three local experts from the Philippines and Indonesia: Fr. Benito B. Tuazon, Fr. Alexius Andang Listya Binawan S.J., and Vera Wenny Setijawati.

"Given that the sessions of the Convention on Climate Change are held once a year in various countries," the communique reads, "the Holy See is usually represented at such meetings with a delegation led by the apostolic nuncio and made up of experts from the area, so as to take advantage of local resources and to achieve a broader and more differentiated vision of the questions being examined."

Good for them. Let's hope this signals the beginning of a shift away from the Church's neglect of this important moral and political issue. One would hope that it could speak with at least half the urgency that it has endlessly heaped on such issues as gay marriage and contraception. Yesterday, in his acceptance speech in Oslo, Al Gore showed how it's done:

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency - a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst - though not all - of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world's leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler's threat: "They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent."

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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