Interviewed on Al Jazeera:
And a statement (Source: ANA-MPA):
ISTANBUL — Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for a legally binding international agreement to avert the overheating of the planet, in a letter addressed to the leaders of the international community in view of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen.
Reaching a beneficial agreement within the framework of the international negotiations in Copenhagen is not only morally imperative for the protection of the universe but a path to social and economic survival as well, he underlined.
“The action against the climate change should not be regarded as an economic burden but as a major opportunity for a healthier planet for the benefit of humanity as a whole, the underdeveloped countries in particular,” the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed.
“Profit, especially, short-term profit, should not motivate our actions more so when it downgrades our shared and God-given natural heritage,” he said.
Bartholomew underlined that “the climate change, as a threat to humanity and the planet, and the progress observed in science and technology clearly show that the only way to a low carbon economy (LCE) is the development of the renewable energy sources (RES), energy saving and no more deforestation.”
The letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch was addressed to the leaders of the United States, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, the European states and the UN Secretary General.
In a letter addressed to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the Ecumenical Patriarch called for bold commitments in the Copenhagen negotiations that will lead Greece as soon as possible to a low-carbon energy policy.
The patriarch’s Sept. 29 statement on Copenhagen available here.
Fittingly, the Copenhagen summit coincides with yet another strike by garbage collectors in Athens, condemning citizens to live with the results of their waste and their leaders’ indifference to this, while worrying about their jobs and the economy and global warming. An important aspect of our addiction to waste is reflected in the garbage strike, in which municipal trash collectors, who enjoy permanent employment, are demanding that contract workers be hired on a permanent basis. This is a long-running racket: When the contract workers become permanent, they move on from collecting trash and so new contract workers are hired. Then everyone goes on strike until the new workers are hired permanently and new contract workers are brought on – until there are far more people needed for the job while all of them are ready to go on strike. So, even as payrolls get bigger and bigger, less work gets done. It’s no wonder that the public sector has sucked the life out of the economy.
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, who says the strikers have a point and is involved in a slanging match with Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis over the issue, plans to go to Copenhagen with a delegation from the City of Athens. Leaving Athens, its garbage and its miserable residents behind should be a relief for him – and perhaps he and other Greeks will get some ideas from the Danish capital. Because what all Greek officials need to consider is that just making the effort to make your home, your city and your administration more efficient is the first and greatest step toward limiting waste and pollution. You don’t need a world summit to see that. Just look at most other cities – except Greek ones.