The South pacific meets South Africa Sr. Sibongile learns to dance as they do in Kiribati
Sr. Helen Christmas our ecology promoter sent us some of Sean Mc Donagh’s writings from the Conference which helped us to put it in a theological context Sean Mc Donagh’s reflections were very useful. He reminded us that Ban Ki moon the Secretary General of the United Nations had begged negotiators “ to pull back from the abyss” many islands in the Pacific and elsewhere were in danger of slipping beneath the waves”. He had seen dried up lakes in North Africa and thousands have lost their homes through drought and floods. He also reminded us of the impact of climate change on the Himalayas and Tibet. He wrote an interesting article entitled “Is China being used as a scapegoat by countries which are unwilling to make significant cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.” We all benefit from the cheap goods that come from China which is considered as still being a developing country by some people. So we share in the blame for what they are doing China is actually making great efforts to reduce its greenhouse emissions. It is the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the world!
South Africa is very good at hosting conferences like COP 17 the president of the Conference was Maite Nkoana-Mashabanr, our Minister for International Affairs.She was a gracious presence. President Zuma welcomed the delegates and of course affirmed South Africa’ firm commitment to Care for the Environment. On the first Thursday of COP 17 The minister of water and environmental affairs Edna Molewa readily admitted that, unlike the rest of Africa, South Africa is guilty of significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. “South Africa is a relatively significant contributor to global climate change with significant GHG emission levels from its energy-intensive, fossil-fuel powered economy”. Some interesting facts emerged. Nedbank which calls itself the “green bank” gave a huge loan to Eskom (producer of electricity) for its huge coal fired Medupi.
A Multi-faith Mass Rally and Concert at COP17 was held in Durban’s Kings Park Stadium on Sunday 27 November. The event was hosted by Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and was supported from all quarters. UNFCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres was present. Other guests included Cardinal Wilfred Napier, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, Ali Mustafa, Archbishop Makgoba, Archbishop of Sweden, Prince Buthelezi, Sister Jayanti (Bramha Kumari). Chair of COP – Minister of International Relations & Cooperation received the petition from religious leaders .Catholics were well represented including some of our Sisters.
The work of NGOs and of scientists was very important at Cop 17, even if the final decisions were made by powerful politicians and business interests. COP17 may be called a copout but the smaller, less powerful people placard –bearing protesters and marchers did highlight this crucial subject on the world’ agenda. We can only hope and pray that the message will finally get through to the powerful before it is too late. Let us continue to inform ourselves and pray for the future of our Planet.
Sister Anne Walsh