President Rafael Correa presented some of the policies his government implemented in Ecuador to address the challenges of climate change during a conference Tuesday co-organized by the United Nations at Vatican city.
In the workshop “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity,” Correa highlighted the need for “[changing] the productive and energy systems, in order to promote social and economic development in Ecuador.” He mentioned for instance the construction of eight new hydroelectric stations, allowing the production of a cleaner energy avoiding the use of fossil energies; he announced that wind turbines and electric “zero-emission” vehicles will soon be set up.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also present at the conference, highlighted that addressing climate change was crucial to address extreme poverty and inequality, and to guarantee a sustainable and equal economic development.
“Climate change is intrinsically linked to public health, water and food security, migration movements, peace and security,” he stated. “This is an ethical matter, of social justice and human rights.”
The summit, entitled “The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development,” was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and aimed at “[elevating] the importance of the moral dimensions of protecting the environment in advance of the papal encyclical and to build a global movement to deal with climate change and sustainable development.”
The U.N. secretary-general also called out climate change skeptics, saying, “Science and religion are not at odds on climate change. Indeed, they are fully aligned. Together, we must clearly communicate that the science of climate change is deep, sound and not in doubt.”
Ban also hoped that the Vatican initiative will inspire world leaders to hopefully agree on a framework that will properly address the issue at the upcoming Paris climate talks. “[The pope's encyclical] will convey to the world that protecting our environment is an urgent moral imperative and a sacred duty for all people of faith and people of conscience,” said Ban.
Before his presentation, Ecuador’s Correa had a private meeting with Pope Francis. Shortly afterward, Correa narrated on Twitter a joke the pope made during the meeting, mocking the Argentine reputation of immodesty: “He told me a joke. He surprised everyone when he chose to call himself “Francisco,” because, for being Argentine, they expected him to be named ‘Jesus II...´”
Me contó un chiste. A todos sorprendió que escogiera llamarse “Francisco”, porque siendo argentino, esperaban que se llame “Jesús II”...— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) abril 28, 2015
Then avoiding to offend Argentines, he added, “A hug to our beloved Argentina, and apologies about the joke, but it was... from the Pope himself!”
...Un abrazo a nuestra querida Argentina, y perdón por el chiste, pero fue... ¡del propio Papa!— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) abril 28, 2015