Hero Background

UN Climate Change Newsroom

READ MORE
CLOSE

These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

Header Image

In an op-ed first published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, the Brazilian football star Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (best known as Kaká) draws parallels between the world of football and the global fight against climate change. He makes a powerful case for a strong outcome of the UN climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year, which will result in a new universal climate agreement:

If tackling climate change were a football match, it would be the most important one I had ever played in. We need to play the game of our lives. For us, our children, and for their children. Let’s play as one united team against this strong opposition and let’s win.

Here the full text:

Humanity 1: Climate Change 0 – winning the game of our lives

Pope Francis made a call to all human beings to put their hearts and their souls into fighting climate change. He made this request through a landmark encyclical letter. His letter stresses how we have a personal and collective responsibility to tackle such an alarming and urgent issue. The encyclical could not come at a more crucial time for our planet and the climate movement.

In December, governments will meet in Paris at the UN climate negotiations to sign a new, universal agreement that will limit global temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. It is essential that they reach out and grab this opportunity with both hands and, in so doing, honor the promises that they have made already to reduce their emissions, including those agreements signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

As a football player who has had the privilege of travelling the world throughout my career I had the opportunity on many occasions to witness the impact of climate change on people’s lives. In Brazil, my country of birth, we have seen how higher temperatures, drastic changes in rainfall, lower productivity and unexpected outbreaks of disease are impacting the poor. The Brazilian Panel on Climate Change (PBMC) has predicted that if present trends in greenhouse gas emissions continue, average temperatures in Brazil will be 3º-6ºC higher by 2100 than they were at the end of the 20th century.

We can witness such trends everywhere. As citizens of the world, and keepers of Mother Earth, “who feeds us and rules us”, in the words of Saint Francis, it is our sacred duty to help leaders make the right choice in Paris by demonstrating that we stand together in safeguarding God’s creation for future generations.

The scientific case to act on climate change is clear. But while the facts are important we must also act out of a desire to respect nature. There should be no difference between being a ‘Christian’ and being ‘green’ – they are both one and the same.

All of us can all make minor changes in our daily lives that, when added together, can help to address climate change on a global scale. We can bike to work or use public transport. We can reduce our use of electricity. But most of all, we can demand that our elected representatives take decisions that will create the global shift required, from all nations, to protect the earth.

Pope Francis encyclical, although aimed directly to Catholics, actually speaks out to everyone of us, regardless of religion or faith, as all of us live together in our common house. If tackling climate change were a football match, it would be the most important one I had ever played in. We need to play the game of our lives. For us, our children, and for their children. Let’s play as one united team against this strong opposition and let’s win.

Photo credit: Club Altetico San Lorenzo de Almagro

Subscribe to our newsletter