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Jenkins co-sponsors Vatican dialogue on climate change

| Friday, June 14, 2019

University President Fr. John Jenkins and Cardinal Peter Turkson, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, cosponsored a Vatican-sponsored dialogue on energy transition from June 12-14, the University announced in a press release. The dialogue was titled “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home.”

On Friday, Pope Francis addressed the summit and responded to questions. His remarks were made public.

Jenkins expressed gratitude for the work of the summit and its participants’ dedication.

“Collectively, these leaders will influence the planet’s future, perhaps more than any in the world,” Jenkins said. “I am deeply grateful for their commitment to the transition to a low-carbon future while providing the energy needed to support the integral human development of every member of the human family.”

Former Notre Dame faculty helped Jenkins lead the effort at the summit, the release said.

“Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, and Leo Burke, professor emeritus of management, spearheaded efforts on behalf of the Vatican and Notre Dame to encourage the energy industry and its investors on a path toward energy transition,” the press release said about the events.

The sponsors of the dialogue highlighted the importance of morality in solving the problem of climate change.

“Addressing this social-ecological crisis requires radical change at all levels, both personal and collective,” Turkson and Jenkins said in a joint statement. “This transition needs the support of markets, significant adoption of renewables as a source of energy, increased efficiency in the use of existing resources, new technologies, farsighted policies, educated civil society, and new forms of global leadership and cooperation. As neither the energy transition nor climate change can be reduced to economic, technological, and regulatory issues alone, there is the need for a moral voice.”

The summit put forth specific proposals to address the problem of climate change — a problem that Pope Francis highlighted in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. It recognized that oil and gas companies along with the global investment community and others are also involved and agreed with the need for a change toward a lower emissions economy.

“The participants discussed the paths forward with a specific focus on the integral role of a just transition that addresses the needs of disadvantaged populations, importance of carbon pricing toward the reduction of emissions and necessity for disclosures to provide clear information on strategies and actions, governance process and performance,“ Jenkins and Turkson said in the release. “From these discussions, two joint statements relating to carbon pricing and proper disclosures are formulated.”

Jenkins and Turkson said they were inspired by the Pope’s encyclical and hope that their work helps to answer the questions posed throughout the document.

Notre Dame developed a plan for sustainability in 2016, which included green roofs and limiting energy waste and water pollution.

Most of the participants of the dialogue signed statements of support for carbon pricing and disclosures on climate change risk.

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