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In 1989, I was asked to give the “Earth Day” sermon at the Jakarta Community Church. While there are more than 25 years and an infinite distance between Frances’ sermon and Francis’ encyclical, I was curious to see what the Pope would do with a similar assignment.
Pope Francis has firmly pronounced that climate change is a threat to the world’s poor in a long-awaited encyclical released on Thursday. The Pope is the religious leader of more than one billion Catholics, more than half of whom live in the developing world. But he has addressed the encyclical to “every person who lives on this planet,” Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
The G-7 committed on Monday to “decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century.” The goal of decarbonization—powering the economy without emitting greenhouse gases—has ascended with dizzying velocity from a plea by activists to acceptance at the highest levels of government.
A new global climate agreement based on voluntary national pledges of domestic action is expected to be finalized in Paris in December. As of now, the 28 nations of the European Union and 9 other nations including the United States, Mexico, and Russia have submitted plans (called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs).
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally released proposed targets for blending biofuels with gasoline and diesel for 2014 (18 months late) and for the current year (6 months late).
From Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu to record-breaking drought in California, humanity is getting a preview of the devastation held in store by climate change. The pressure is on world leaders to reach an agreement in Paris this December to cut back on climate-changing emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation.
I’ve spent the last year at CGD working with a team of experts to figure out how to encourage more funders to pay tropical forest countries for results in reducing deforestation. My CGD colleagues Jonah Busch and Frances Seymour have done extensive research that documents that forests are critical for development and to combat climate change. And paying forest countries for performance – actual results in reducing deforestation – can provide an essential incentive and can complement funding for inputs, as reflected in CGD’s Cash-on-Delivery aid research.