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Institute Applauds Miliband Speech at Vatican Environment Conference

"New Approaches Necessary for Undertaking Moral Duty of Stewardship towards Nature"

Contact: Kevin Fahey, Institute on Religion and Public Policy, 202-835-8760, Fahey@religionandpolicy.org

ROME, April 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Thursday, April 26, Right Honorable David Miliband, Member of the British House of Parliament and Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, addressed a conference on the environment organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace presided by His Eminence, Renato Cardinal Martino.


In the address, Minister Miliband called for the mobilization of "governments, businesses and citizens across the world to act – what Pope John Paul II described as an 'ecological conversion'. Our call to action can be guided in part by scientific evidence, by economic analysis, by illustrating that it is in our self-interest to act. But the foundations of a new climate change coalition must be deeper. They must be grounded in morality and ethics: in a sense of solidarity with the developing world and future generations; a belief that humankind has a duty of stewardship towards nature, and perhaps most critical of all, a belief in securing a socially just balance of responsibility between rich and poor, and the Catholic Church and the world's faith communities have an opportunity to help nurture these shared values."


Minister Miliband went on to highlight that climate change is more than just an environmental issue: "Climate change is not just as Al Gore puts it, 'a planetary emergency' but a humanitarian one; Climate change has also become an  economic issue: catastrophic climate change will…have a greater economic impact than two world wars and the Great Depression put together; Climate change has become a national security and foreign policy issue: scarcity of natural resources, in particular water and food, could be a major source of future conflict; Climate change has become an international development issue: much of the developing world will have to adapt to the climate change already in train from the developed world's emissions; We must also recognize that climate change is an issue that that raises profound moral and ethical questions. Economic or scientific analysis cannot tell us what value to place on the lives of future generations; or how far the developing world should help the poorest nations to adapt to the effects of climate change, and develop low-carbon energy. These are questions that must be guided by values as well as facts."


Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski commented, "Minister Miliband has taken a bold step in his address to the Vatican conference on the environment.  His well reasoned, balanced, and practical approaches to the issue of climate change create an opportunity for individuals, groups, nations and states to work together to find solutions to a rising global problem that affects us all."