San Francisco (July 12, 2007)- The Vatican plans to become the first entirely carbon neutral sovereign state, and it has accepted Budapest-based (but with offices in the U.S. and Canada) KlimaFa ecorestoration offsets to achieve this historic goal. In a brief ceremony on July 5th the Vatican declared that it had gratefully accepted KlimaFa’s offer to create a new Vatican Climate Forest in Europe that will initially offset all of the Vatican City State’s CO2 emissions for this year.
His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard presided at the event and stated, “As President of the Pontifical Council of Culture. “I am honoured to receive this donation from the leaders of Planktos-KlimaFa. This donation means an entire section of a national park in central Europe will be reforested. In this way, the Vatican will do its small part in contributing to the elimination of polluting emissions from CO2 which is threatening the survival of this planet.”
“As the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had recently stated, the international community needs to respect and encourage a ‘Green Culture,’ characterized by ethical values. The Book of Genesis tells us of a beginning in which God placed man as guardian over the earth to make it fruitful. When man forgets that he is a faithful servant of this earth, it becomes a desert that threatens the survival of all creation…”
Pope Benedict XVI’s inspiring guidance strongly reinforces an increasing Vatican environmental concern articulated by Pope John Paul II in his 2001 Blueprint for the New Millennium, “How can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity?” Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, head of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, reaffirmed this warning at Vatican Conference on Climate Change and Development this April, “For environment … read Creation… Man must cultivate and safeguard God’s Creation.”
According to Planktos CEO and KlimaFa Managing Director, Russ George, “The Holy See’s increasingly creative environmental leadership is both insightful and profound. Not only is the Vatican steadily reducing its carbon footprint with energy efficiency and solar power, its choice of new mixed growth forests to offset the balance of its emissions shows a deep commitment to planetary stewardship as well. It eloquently makes the point that ecorestoration is a fitting climate change solution for a culture of life.”
Dr. David Gazdag, KlimaFa’s Managing Director in Budapest, added, “We believe this Climate Forest initiative clearly reflects the Vatican’s deep commitment to both environmental healing and the welfare of the poor. Besides their local ecological and global climatic benefits, these projects offer many rewarding new eco-forestry jobs to struggling rural communities and increasing eco-tourism employment opportunities as these beautiful woodlands mature.”
The new Vatican Climate Forest will be created in Hungary’s Bukk National Park under the auspices of the KlimaFa Climate Parks program. Its dimensions will be determined by the Vatican’s 2007 energy usage and the success of its current emission reduction efforts. KlimaFa has received EU JI Track 1 approval to plant thousands of hectares of new native species, mixed growth forests under the permanent protection of European national park systems. Its initial projects are being conducted in collaboration with Hungary’s government, Academy of Sciences and National Parks Directorate.
Planktos/KlimaFa has further committed to work with the Vatican and the Pontifical Council of Culture to develop methods to calculate the CO2 emissions of individual Catholic churches and offer ecorestoration options to turn their carbon footprints green.
New York Times
International Herald Tribune