The Pope urged 1.3 billion Catholics to take more aggressive actions to combat climate change while singling out the USA over “irresponsible” on emissions compared to China.
This is Pope Francis’ second letter on climate change
The Vatican published Francis’ landmark “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home” eight years ago, and it was the first letter focused on the environment. The new note, “Laudate Deum,” meaning Praise God, was published weeks before the U.N. climate meeting.
The Pope blasted the Western lifestyle
The 12-page letter reads, “If we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries, we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact.”
The Pope spoke about “irreversible” harm
Pope Francis challenged the U.N. to strengthen the agreement they reached in Paris in 2015 and warned about the “irreversible” harm people have already created. The Pope wrote, “We are now unable to halt the enormous damage we have caused. We barely have time to prevent even more tragic damage.”
The letter aimed to alarms
Pope Francis explained that the second, updated letter was necessary because “our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”
People are not reacting fast enough
The Pope further wrote, “The necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed.”
Pope Francis on the next U.N. meeting
“The United Arab Emirates will host the next Conference of the Parties (COP28). It is a country of the Persian Gulf known as a great exporter of fossil fuels, although it has made significant investments in renewable energy sources,” the letter shared.
The Pope’s warning
He continued, “Meanwhile, gas and oil companies are planning new projects there, with the aim of further increasing their production. To say that there is nothing to hope for would be suicidal, for it would mean exposing all humanity, especially the poorest, to the worst impacts of climate change.”
The Pope on technology
Pope Francis warned that technology won’t solve a climate crisis that’s only getting worse and mentioned that “technological advances that make it possible to absorb or capture (heat-trapping) gas emissions” have “proved promising.”
The Pope wrote, “What is being asked of us is nothing other than a certain responsibility for the legacy we will leave behind once we pass from this world.”
Accurate but hopeless
U.S. climate scientist Carlos Martinez, a Catholic who leads a multifaith committee for the American Meteorological Society, told A.P. that it appears like a report card for Earth and the people, and “it appears from the language that he would give students a D, like a D-. Because there has been some progress, but it’s not where it needs to be.”
Martinez added, “He does not mince his words as to the state of the environment and its impacts on people and communities.” Martinez shared how the message was scientifically accurate but offered little or no hope.
Evangelical Environmental Network President Jessica Moerman, a climate scientist turned pastor, said, “To have a global religious leader like Pope Francis putting climate action in terms of defending life is huge.” Moerman, the board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, added this was telling people that climate change “is causing human suffering and that as people of faith committed to defending life, this is something we can no longer ignore.”
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