Pope Francis launched the encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" on Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 2015. Many people, both inside the Catholic church and in the wider world, consider it to be the most important document published by a pope in the past 120 years.
In my 1990 book, The Greening of the Church, I argued that concern for God's creation was low on the list of Catholic priorities. In the intervening years, concerns for the planet have increased at the level of papal teaching and in local churches.
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA — Three years ago a claim in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - stating that glaciers in the Himalayas were receding faster than in any other part of the globe and could disappear completely by 2035 – was seized upon by climate deniers as an example of the questionable science behind climate change. The claim was made by an Indian glaciologist in a June 1999 article in New Science magazine. The data had not been peer-reviewed.
Fr. Seán McDonagh is in Durban, South Africa, reporting on the UN Climate Change Conference 2011. He will be providing updates throughout the conference.
One of the pitfalls that many of us who have attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference for years fall into is that we assume that the general reader has a good grasp of the history of these conferences and the issues that have been thrashed about during the past 20 years. On this, the third day of the Durban conference, a brief history might be helpful.
Countries from across the globe began to address the problems associated with global warming and climate change at the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, in June 1990. At that meeting it was agreed to set up a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).