Vatican City, Oct 4 (EFE).- Pope Francis has warned that the world is “collapsing” due to the climate crisis and could be nearing “breaking point”.
In an apostolic exhortation, the pontiff also severely criticized world leaders and those who deny that the climate crisis is manmade.
In 2015, Francis issued a seminal paper on global warming known as a “green encyclical”, in which he shared his “heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home.”
In his address issued Wednesday, titled Laudate Deum, which follows up on his 2015 paper, Francis said that global responses to the climate crisis “have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”
The Pope pointed out that the effects of the crisis would be felt in healthcare employment, access to resources, housing, and forced migration, among other issues.
Francis strongly condemned attempts to “deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize” the problem, insisting that the consequences of climate change “are here and increasingly evident.”
“No one can ignore the fact that in recent years we have witnessed extreme weather phenomena, frequent periods of unusual heat, drought and other cries of protest on the part of the earth that are only a few palpable expressions of a silent disease that affects everyone,” he said.
He reiterated his unwavering belief that the crisis is manmade, pointing to the “overwhelming majority of climate scientists specializing in the climate support this correlation,” and highlighting that “only a very small percentage of them seek to deny the evidence.”
“Regrettably, the climate crisis is not exactly a matter that interests the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest amount of time,” Francis said, while also slamming “dismissive and scarcely reasonable opinions” he has encountered within the Catholic Church.
The pontiff insisted that transitioning to renewable, cleaner energy supplies would help spur growth, outright rejecting those who have said that reducing our reliance on fossil fuels would lead to job losses.
“The transition to renewable forms of energy, properly managed, as well as efforts to adapt to the damage caused by climate change, are capable of generating countless jobs in different sectors,” Francis said.
But, he added, “this demands that politicians and business leaders should even now be concerning themselves with it.”
On that note, Francis criticized the “weakness” of international political bodies, pointing to the failures of recent COP climate summits that have been unable to establish adequate mechanisms of control and oversight.
“International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good,” the Pope said, warning that “those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility”.
The pontiff called for “an end to the irresponsible derision that would present this issue as something purely ecological, ‘green’, romantic, frequently subject to ridicule by economic interests.
“Let us finally admit that it is a human and social problem on any number of levels,” he said.
Ahead of the upcoming COP28 international climate summit in the United Arab Emirates in November, the Pope called for politicians to agree to “binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored.”
Towards the end of his address, Francis urged world leaders to prioritize the common good and future generations “more than the short-term interests of certain countries or businesses” and demonstrate “the nobility of politics and not its shame.”
“To the powerful, I can only repeat this question: ‘What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?’” EFE