John Kerry meets with Vatican … to talk global warming

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Vatican’s lead diplomat on Monday to discuss a wide range of topics — including global warming.

The Boston Globe reports that Kerry spoke with the pope’s chief diplomat Archbishop Pietro Parolin on Monday to enlist a new ally in his push for peace in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state, who is Catholic, also talked global warming, stressing the U.S.’s shared responsibility in fighting a warming planet.

“And similarly, the Holy Father yesterday in his speech raised the responsibility that we all have for the climate, for responsibility for planet Earth, which is our common home, as he said,” Kerry said after his meeting with the Papal diplomat. “And we share the responsibilities with respect to that.”

Kerry is the first Roman Catholic secretary of state to visit the Vatican in more than three decades. The last one to do so was Edmund Muskie, who served under President Carter.

“Much was agreed on as a mutual agenda this morning, and I am particularly pleased to know that the Holy Father and the secretary of state in the Holy See will continue to speak out about peace in the Mideast, continue to try to bring parties together, and continue to help address some of the most pressing concerns that are challenging failed states and failing states in too many parts of the world,” Kerry said.

The Obama administration has made fighting global warming a top diplomatic priority. Kerry’s goal is to lead global talks on a comprehensive climate agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Kerry has been actively working to emphasize global warming for years now. While in the Senate he sponsored an effort to pass a climate bill, which failed. He also worked behind the scenes at the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Those talks also failed to achieve anything significant.

World diplomats are set to meet again in 2015 to pave the way for a binding global agreement on global warming. But efforts in the past have been stymied by disagreements over how much money rich countries should give to poor, developing nations.

Last year’s climate talks were derailed over the issue of climate “reparations,” which were staunchly opposed by rich countries, especially the U.S., Britain and Australia.

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