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Climate disruption/COP21/Summit of Conscience for the Climate

Published on July 23, 2015
Toast by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts)
Paris, July 20, 2015

(…)

I want to tell you ladies and gentlemen here representing the spiritual community how pleased I am to welcome you here to Paris, to the Elysée. It’s a meeting we wanted in the framework of preparations for the Climate Conference, which – as you know – is going to be held in December. (…)

I want to pay tribute here to the IPCC, the major scientific organization enabling us to observe and, sadly, foresee what our planet will be if nothing is done to protect it.

While there are experts, while there are scientists, in addition to science there must also be conscience. And that’s the purpose of this summit, which is going to be held tomorrow and will bring together figures, authorities from all over the world. The message that will have to be sent by you – and I have confidence in you – will be addressed to the deepest part of every one of us: in other words, what actually elevates us, transcends us and makes us look beyond our own lives.

Your approach puts climate challenges at the only level that matters: that of the morality, ethics, civilization and way of life we must promote in order to leave a viable world for our children and future generations. At the beginning of the year I was in the Philippines, because I wanted to express our solidarity with a country that was the victim of disasters which profoundly changed life on a number of islands. Patriarch Bartholomew and Senator Legarda were accompanying me, so that we could be as close as possible to the actual victims of climate disruption. The Philippines President and I launched the Manila Call to mobilize governments and the public.
I don’t know if we’ve yet been heeded [by everyone], but you listened to that call and are answering it today. Through your approach, you’re inviting every public leader, every COP21 delegate, to think about the purpose of what they’re going to do. (…)

Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ encyclical had considerable impact, and well beyond the circle of believers. The text calls on us to question what is not lasting or sustainable about our way of life. I know that the world’s other religions are getting directly involved in actions to support the environment and the climate. You yourselves come from very different countries and cultures, and yet you’re coming together – regardless of your beliefs, origins, careers, sympathies and philosophies – to call on people to act like members of the human family.

A success for the Climate Conference must be a success for all those who want to live together and address what is finest in humanity’s conscience, namely the sense of its destiny, the sense also of what we’re leaving for its children, the legacy we also want to bequeath to future generations. This legacy won’t be erased if the Paris conference is a success.

Thank you./.

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