Pope Francis presides at Holy Mass with the new Cardinals and the College of Cardinals for the opening of the General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Vatican on Oct. 4, 2023. Franco Origlia / Getty Images
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In an appeal to those who deny climate change and politicians who have been slow to take action to mitigate it, Pope Francis has written a 7,000-word “Apostolic Exhortation” urging the world to speed up its transition to renewable energy.
Pope Francis said the human factors contributing to climate change and the scientific facts behind global heating cannot be ignored or denied while our planet “may be nearing the breaking point,” reported Reuters.
“With the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing,” Pope Francis wrote, as The New York Times reported.
The document, released ahead of next month’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai, is entitled Laudate Deum (Praise God). It follows his encyclical on the environment from 2015, Laudato Si (Praise Be).
Since the publication of Laudato Si, extreme weather events he said were the planet’s “cries of protest” inspired him to write Laudate Deum.
“Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs 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,” Pope Francis wrote, as reported by CNN.
In his plea, Pope Francis warned against investing too much trust in carbon capture technology. While it may be promising, he said, it did not address the root human causes of global warming.
“Some effects of the climate crisis are already irreversible, at least for several hundred years, such as the increase in the global temperature of the oceans, their acidification and the decrease of oxygen,” he wrote.
Pope Francis also said activist groups should not be called “radicalised” since they are “filling a space left empty by society as a whole,” Reuters reported.
He noted the speed of the changes that are happening to the planet in “one generation — not centuries or millennia,” as reported by Reuters.
“The rise in the sea level and the melting of glaciers can be easily perceived by an individual in his or her lifetime, and probably in a few years many populations will have to move their homes because of these facts,” Pope Francis wrote.
He called for businesses and “certain countries” to abandon their short-term interests, saying the climate change’s “antropic” origins could no longer be denied.
“If we are confident in the capacity of human beings to transcend their petty interests and to think in bigger terms, we can keep hoping that COP28 will allow for a decisive acceleration of energy transition, with effective commitments subject to ongoing monitoring,” Pope Francis wrote, as Reuters reported.