Holy See Highlights 3 Issues in Energy Debate

Defends Poor, Future Generations; Calls for Lifestyle Change

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NEW YORK, NOV. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Progress in the field of renewable energy is key for poverty eradication, the Holy See contends.



This was one element of the energy issue that Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, spoke about Tuesday when he addressed the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

He proposed that "energy cooperation should ultimately be oriented toward poverty alleviation and be adjusted to economic and fiscal instruments, as well as to regional and international cooperation, information sharing, transfer of technology and best practices in this field."

The archbishop noted how developing countries have the potential to produce a large percentage of renewable energy, but lack the money to get such programs started.

He explained: "[W]e note that the developing countries as a group have more than 40% of installed renewable power capacity, more than 70% of existing solar hot water capacity and 45% of bio-fuel production power capacity. But often low-carbon technologies, like solar technologies, including photovoltaic, concentrating solar power and solar thermal, incur very high initial expenses.

"Access by poorer people to this innovation is essential for allowing developing countries to meet their growing demand for energy and fostering sustainable development."

Thinking longterm

Secondly, the Holy See representative said that discussions on energy "should take into account the human and environmental longterm costs."

"Environmental exploitation, without regard to environmental or long-term concerns, may provide a short-term economic growth but such growth comes at a great price," he noted. "The costs today are being born primarily by developing countries, the poor and those who do not have the ability to protect themselves from challenges of climate change."

Archbishop Migliore said the field of renewable energy is a challenge for everyone, from governments to the private sector, but should "be based on 'intergenerational justice' since the energy consumption pattern of today impacts future generations."

"We should not burden future generations with our overstated energy consumption," he affirmed. "Therefore a change of lifestyle is imperative in this regard. In this way, renewable energy programs will ensure an 'intergenerational solidarity' beyond national and economic boundaries."

Finally, the archbishop advocated "proper energy consciousness education and ongoing energy learning."

"In developing strategies and policies for new and renewable energy, there is no 'one size fits all' formula," he said. "Instead it will require multidimensional cooperation, which places responsible human stewardship of the earth at the center of international, national and individual efforts to address the causes and consequences of climate change."


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On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text of Archbishop Migliore's address: www.zenit.org/article-27436?l=english