VATICAN CITY: Mayors from around the world have signed a declaration with Pope Francis stating that man-made climate change is real and humanity has a moral imperative to take action.
At a two-day summit in the Vatican aimed at spurring efforts to fight global warming following the pope’s environment encyclical denouncing the exploitation of the poor and the earth’s resources, over 60 mayors pledged to do their part.
“If we’re going to confront these issues, if we’re going to overcome the fear of change, the fear of losing the convenience of consumerism that has overtaken us, we’re going to have to stare down political opposition,” New York mayor Bill de Blasio told the assembly on Wednesday.
“We need to be bold about breaking our alliance on fossil fuels. To many people on this earth that would be unimaginable, because we’ve spent our lives coveting those resources,” he said, but the world’s dependence on fossil fuels “is killing us”.
The declaration stressed that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.”
“Otherwise… the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4 degrees C or higher,” it said.
The mayors pledged to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in their cities from “climate-related extreme events” and their consequences, as well as “economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration”.
“We have an international phenomenon of a lack of national leadership on climate change, but dynamism on a local level. Ergo, the local leadership has to set the pace,” de Blasio said.