Press Release: Catholic Networks Unite, Pleading for Fossil Fuel Phase-Out and Climate Justice at COP28 – CIDSE

Press Release: Catholic Networks Unite, Pleading for Fossil Fuel Phase-Out and Climate Justice at COP28

Dubai/Brussels/Rome, 7 December 2023 The international networks of Catholic social justice organisations, Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE, urge negotiators and world leaders attending the Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai to work for a just and bold agreement that ensures the phase-out of all fossil fuels, gets the planet on track to achieving the Paris Agreement and deliver financial support to communities being impacted by climate change.

Pope Francis delivered a clear message to COP28 that “global warming has coincided with a general decline in multilateralism, accompanied by a growing lack of trust within the international community.” Catholic agencies at COP28 are calling for world leaders to heed this message in the second week at COP28 and make sure the conference delivers a crystal clear way forward which renews hope and builds trust in global climate diplomacy. However, they caution that this will require a significant increase in ambition, clear message to phase-out fossil fuels, and affirmation that climate action must be led by countries with the greatest historical responsibility.

Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE secretary General, said:

“Decision-makers at COP28 must unanimously agree to unequivocally phase out fossil fuels and establish a comprehensive plan to review progress against the Paris Agreement well into the future. The commitment to the 1.5ºC goal must guide national efforts, supported by scientific rigour, respect for human dignity, and adherence to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. With a robust GST, the Paris Agreement can be back on track”.

Alistair Dutton, Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, affirmed:

“The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day of COP28 marks a historic achievement. It is the outcome of the tireless efforts of numerous parties and stands as a success story in multilateral diplomacy. However, significant work remains to be done. COP28 must define the scope of ambition for the Loss and Damage Fund and set out a clear pathway in the Global Stocktake (GST) to regularly assess and enhance global action in addressing Loss and Damage. The GST outcomes should articulate a comprehensive financial ambition, addressing both economic and non-economic aspects of Loss and Damage. When we engage in loss and damage, we need a much more holistic and programmatic approach which begins with deep sincere engagement and participatory assessments with the communities. The Loss and Damage fund must be holistic, context specific, locally led, locally determined, & accessible locally”.

As Pope Francis affirmed in his address to political leaders at COP28, “the purpose of power is to serve. It is useless to cling to an authority that will one day be remembered for its inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so. History will be grateful to you”.

Catholic actors at COP28 will continue to bring this message to world leaders at week 2 of COP28, and hope the final outcome marks a turning point in our fight against climate injustice.

Note to the editors:

CIDSE is an international family of Catholic social justice organisations. We work with global partners and allies to promote justice, harnessing the power of global solidarity to achieve transformational change for people and the planet. We challenge systemic injustice and its destructive impacts through connecting, mobilising, influencing and telling stories of change. We promote environmentally and socially just alternatives to allow everyone to thrive in our common home.

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of over 160 members who are working at the grassroots in almost every country of the world. When a crisis hits, Caritas is already on the ground. Our diverse members give us our strength – from small groups of volunteers to some of the biggest global charities. Inspired by Catholic faith, Caritas is the charitable arm of the Church – reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and excluded, regardless of race or religion, to build a world based on justice and fraternal love.

Media contacts on site: 

– Musamba Mubanga, Caritas Internationalis, mubanga(at)
– Carmen Contreras, CIDSE, contreras(at)

Cover photo image credit: CIDSE

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