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Fall River Herald: Sen. Ed Markey pleased by papal attention to global warming

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey had a front row seat Friday at the United Nations where Pope Francis called on world leaders to vigorously fight global warming – an issue that the Massachusetts Democrat has long endorsed.

“The Pope’s historic environmental encyclical and his address today at the UN should spark exactly the kind of conversation we need to be having right now around the globe, especially as the world comes together to craft an international climate agreement in Paris at the end of the year,” Markey said.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Francis declared that there is a “right of the environment” which mankind has no authority to abuse.

“We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it,” the pope said.

Francis chastised economic leaders for failing to protect the environment.

“The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species. The baneful consequences of an irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy, guided only by ambition for wealth and power, must serve as a summons to a forthright reflection on man,” he said.

Yet, Francis offered some hope for the future. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit is an important step, and he suggested that the upcoming Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure “fundamental and effective agreements” to protect the environment.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power invited Markey to attend the address. He is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking Democrat of the Africa and Global Health subcommittee.

“It was an honor to join Ambassador Power at the UN General Assembly to hear Pope Francis’s address,” Markey said. “As individuals and political leaders, we need to join in the conversation that he is calling the world to engage in about protecting people, especially the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and our planet.”

Markey was similarly pleased with the address Francis delivered Thursday to Congress, which he also attended.

“Pope Francis delivered a practical, yet powerful message: Mankind created this problem of climate change, and now mankind must fix it.