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Cablegate: Copenhagen Climate Summit: Vatican Charities Plan Big

VZCZCXRO4254
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHROV #0125 3351626
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011626Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1200
INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN PRIORITY 0003
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0103
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 1239

UNCLAS VATICAN 000125

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC SENV BEXP EAGR ENRG PREL UN DA SF VT
SUBJECT: COPENHAGEN CLIMATE SUMMIT: VATICAN CHARITIES PLAN BIG
EFFORT

REF: VATICAN 119

Summary

-------

1. Summary: (SBU) Caritas Internationalis, the international
federation of national Caritas groups (Catholic
Church-affiliated aid organizations), will send a large
delegation to Copenhagen to press for strong action on climate
change. Caritas will also promote its "Grow Climate Justice"
campaign that brings together more than 170 Catholic
organizations worldwide. While disappointed about USG pessimism
regarding odds for a binding agreement, Caritas is optimistic
about prospects for other tangible results, particularly
financial and technical support for less developed countries.
Caritas involvement should translate into the mobilization of
one of the world's most extensive charity networks in support of
follow-up to Copenhagen. End summary.

2. (SBU) During a November 24 meeting with P/EOff, Caritas
Director of Communications Patrick Nicholson said Caritas was
taking the Copenhagen Summit very seriously. Lesley-Anne
Knight, Caritas' Secretary General (based in Rome), will lead
Caritas' 40-plus member delegation. During the summit, Caritas
will stress with participants the "Grow Climate Justice"
campaign. The campaign has three objectives: (1) to convince
countries to recognize and protect all peoples' right to
sustainable development, prioritizing the most vulnerable, (2)
to persuade industrialized countries to provide developing
countries sufficient, accessible, financial and technological
support for adaptation and mitigation, and (3) to lobby
industrialized countries to commit to at least 30-40 percent
reduction in emissions by 2020 (based on 1990 levels).

3. (SBU) The Holy See will send its own delegation to
Copenhagen. Depending on the participation of other world
leaders, Secretary of State (Prime Minister-equivalent) Tarcisio
Bertone may lead the Vatican group. Also on the Vatican's
delegation will be Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the
Scottish Conference of Catholic Bishops, who has led Vatican
delegations to previous international environmental meetings.
O'Brien recently stated that "Wealthy countries have an
unequivocal moral duty to reduce their own emissions and help
developing countries who are already suffering the consequences
of our profligate use of fossil fuels for economic gain."

4. (SBU) Nicholson said Caritas would consider Copenhagen a
success if developing economies are involved in the decision
making process, and if participants reach agreements that bring
about tangible results. He said most within Catholic charity
circles understand the U.S. position going into the Summit,
though some are disappointed that the USG believes a binding
international agreement on emissions is unlikely. At the same
time, Caritas appreciates U.S. transparency on this issue, which
reduces the possibility of a "successful" agreement failing
later if parties do not live up to their commitments.

Comment

-------

5. (SBU) Together with the Pope (reftel), Caritas is working to
educate and mobilize global leaders and societies about climate
change. Caritas believes the effects of climate change magnify
many of the problems facing the world's poor (i.e., droughts,
famine, internally displaced people, war, etc.). Caritas
appreciates U.S. efforts to advance the agenda while stressing
that the summit must be quickly followed by further, concrete
actions. End Comment.

DIAZ

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