By Peter Bugden
BRISBANE’S Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is doing its best to play some small part in influencing what happens at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year.
Commission executive officer Peter Arndt said the organisation was working with the Queensland Conservation Council and the Australian Conservation Federation to muster public opinion advocating for “adequate greenhouse emissions reduction targets”.
“We’ve got COP21 in Paris in December, and there will be lots of advocacy between now and then to urge the Australian Government and other countries to commit to significant reductions in greenhouse emissions,” Mr Arndt said.
COP21 is the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and it will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
The CJPC is involved in pre-COP21 lobbying as part of its promotion of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (On the Care of Our Common Home).
Mr Arndt said the CJPC was working with the state and national conservation organisations to organise a series of events, including a rally in Brisbane on November 28, to advocate on emissions reduction targets.
Interest in the encyclical is running high, with St Paul’s Publications reporting they had sold 15,000 copies around Australia in recent weeks, including online.
St Pauls Publications director Society of St Paul Father Ben Oreno said many of the books by Pope Francis or about the Pope had been popular, especially his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel).
“The Joy of the Gospel is still selling, but this one – Laudato Si’ – has generated even more interest,” he said.
Fr Oreno said Christians of other denominations had also shown keen interest.
Mr Arndt said he had noticed similar enthusiasm through the Queensland Churches Environmental Network, a commission of Queensland Churches Together.
He said he’d been working with representatives of other Churches such as Anglican and Uniting churches and Salvation Army.
“They’re wanting to do as much as they can to promote engagement with the encyclical across the Churches,” he said.
Mr Arndt said the CJPC was linking with Catholic Mission to promote the colloquium “The Francis Effect II: Praised Be You”.
The colloquiums will be hosted in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities around Australia.
The Brisbane colloquium will be held on September 10 at a venue to be confirmed.
Mr Arndt said the CJPC would continue to collect stories from schools and parishes about their practical efforts to become more environmentally sustainable.
“We will publish these stories online to show that we’re not starting from zero and to give inspiration to others in diocese,” he said.