Climate Change Minister James Shaw meets the Pope

climate change

The Minister for Climate Change James Shaw and Pacific People’s Minister Aupito William Sio met with Pope Francis on Saturday.

En route to United Nations COP-23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, they took part in a Pacific Island Leaders Forum discussion with the Holy Father.

The Pope received in audience the leaders of the “Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat” from the eleven island states.

Shaw said delegates from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia read statements at the Vatican meeting on different facets of the climate challenge.

Pope Francis responded drawing on his encyclical of 2015, in which he described climate change as a global problem with grave implications.

“He is extremely concerned about the territorial threat from rising sea levels and about the state of the oceans,” Shaw said.

He is continuing to use the weight of his office and his influence to draw attention to the environment in general, but climate change specifically.

“The reason it’s such a big deal for the Pacific Islands is that he’s now drawing attention specifically to the immediate threat that the islands are facing.”

Before he left for the meeting Shaw said, “We want to really show that we stand with our Pacific Island neighbours,” Shaw said.

“It is an important meeting… The status of it will mean a lot to them and I think it’s really important we stand alongside them.”

And if you’re wondering what one wears when they have an audience with the Pope, Shaw said he would probably wear a suit.


Read the Pope’s statement



Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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