Climate Change on Papal Agenda for World Youth Day in Australia

The Pope is to make climate change one of his key concerns during his trip to Australia for World Youth Day.  The pontiff has said that politicians and scientists must respond to what he calls the "great ecological challenge" of global warming.  Australia's highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has welcomed the statement, but says he remains a climate-change skeptic.  From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports.

Pope Benedict says society has to meet the challenges posed by climate change and it has a responsibility to find "an ethical way to change our way of life."  He made the comments during his trip to World Youth Day in Australia.

The pontiff's views are at odds with those of Australia's most-senior Catholic leader, Sydney Catholic Archbishop George Pell. He is a climate change skeptic, but insists his attitudes are not incompatible with the Pope's decision to set the issue as a theme for his visit to Australia.

"I'm well aware that, over the hundreds of years, there have been great changes in the climates," he said.  "And, whether we are going through one of those cha nges or whether we are contributing to that, I don't know.  And, whether we're heading slowly toward an ice age, or whether we're heading towards significant warming, I don't know.  But I'm pretty certain if you look at the figures, the temperature dropped, worldwide, in the last 12 months."

Some climate change proponents in Australia believe that the Pope's opinions on the environment do not carry much practical relevance.

Stephen Douglas, from the Australian National University, says Benedict's views on climate change should not be taken too seriously.

"There's a growing body of what you could call symbolic policy;  so these are things that are somewhat unfortunately referred to as 'motherhood statements.'  So they're essentially warm and fuzzy statements about how we should be seeing things, how we should be caring for creation in Christian terms; but what we're not seeing is meaningful operational policy," said Douglas.  "You're not seeing a restructure of the Catholic Church, or any other religious organizations, that would bring them up to speed with how they need to operate to address things like climate change."

The Vatican has declared itself a carbon neutral state, although critics argue that its environmental credentials are compromised by fuel consumption an airline for pilgrims that it operates.

The Pope continues to rest in a Catholic retreat outside Sydney ahead of his official World Youth Day commitments that start with a trip across Sydney Harbor on Thursday.

The highlight of his 10-day visit to Australia will be a giant papal mass in Sydney on Sunday in front of an estimated 250,000 pilgrims.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs