MCC director in dialogue with Pope over global commons

At the Vatican, Ottmar Edenhofer spoke with Francis about the relationship between science and religion. Global commons like the atmosphere were also one of the topics.

[Translate to EN:] Foto: MCC


Ottmar Edenhofer, director at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), recently talked in Rome with Pope Francis once more about the importance of the global commons. Amongst others those commons are worldwide resources like the atmosphere. The Pope and Edenhofer discussed how the equitable use of them could be ensured.

The two met on the occasion of science’s unique reaction to the Encyclical “Laudato si”: editorials on the topic appeared in the scientific journals “Nature” and “Science”. The journal “Nature Climate Change” published a special issue on “Laudato si” with comments from scientists on the Encyclical. The MCC director handed a copy of it over to the Pope.

Within this special issue Edenhofer, together with MCC Secretary General Brigitte Knopf and MCC Group Leader Christian Flachsland, wrote the commentary „Science and religion in dialogue over the global commons“. They argue that the atmosphere will have to be recognized as a global commons in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of ending poverty and combating climate change simultaneously.

“In science I cannot remember a more lively debate with and a more overwhelming approval to the Pope,” Edenhofer said. “By writing the Encyclical the Pope pushed open a gate of dialogue between science and religion.”

For his Encyclical Francis had already asked the climate economist for advice. When being published later, the catholic teaching document connected the key ethical challenges of poverty, inequality and climate change. One particular sentence reads: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”