In cooperation with the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of Catholic Bishops in the European Community (COMECE), BEPA organized a seminar on "Protection of the environment and climate change - challenges for European policy - the role of ethics, lifestyle, solidarity and global justic." The Church of Cyprus was represented by deacon Nektarios Ioannou.
During the first part of the seminar the climatic changes of the last decades at temperature, rainfall and rising sea levels were presented, while special mention was made to ice melting. In his speech, Mr. Hugues Goose, professor at the University of Louvain, stressed the role of the human factor in the current climatic changes. Mr. Martin Scheele on behalf of the European Commission and Commissioner DG AGRI stressed, as Mr Hugues did, the human factor as the main cause for the destruction of the environment. The habits and the modern lifestyle have led to increasing demand for animal protein and other derivatives resulting in increased production. The demand for food according to European Statistics will increase by 50% by 2050 whilst the European policies have not yielded results thus a gradual reduction in the consumption of animal proteins and the maintenance of green areas shall be put forward. Finally there should be increased use of renewable energy sources. On behalf of the churches Bishop Theodonius, president of Caritas in Bangladesh, and Mr Hans Diefenbacher, professor at the University of Heidelberg, stressed the need for respect of the creation and especially in the implementation of the policy of sufficiency within the constraints of a decent living. The purpose is love for the environment and the help for the weaker members of the church who suffer from hunger. During the discussion the scandal of food destruction to maintain prices was highlighted while the bad habit of European citizens in the daily consumption of animal proteins was rebuked.
Then in the second part, Mr. Paul Remier of the European Commission and DG Development and Cooperation developed the policy of the European Commission as well as the areas in which the right balance needs to be achieved for the common climate policy. Finally he explained EU policy in third countries plagued by severe climatic changes. On behalf of the churches Mrs Janna Sconfeld and Mr. Bevud Niles developed the problems caused by climate change and the political movements to be implemented across the European Union on this enormous problem. to Increase European programs and sponsorships to promote and mainly educate on climate change were proposed as solutions. The purpose is the economic stability so that the primary factor is not only the continuous growth of production and increase in profit but to create green mentality. Identified by the participants and acknowledged by European officials is the decrease in spending on climate change by the Parliament and the Commission due to the current economic situation.
Finally, Mr. Artur Runge Metgez director of the Office DG Climate Policy called to implement a direct and targeted policy towards the protection of the environment and immediate enactment of targets by 2050, with any financial cost since the amount seems small compared to the huge problems future generations will have to deal with.