Pope Francis: Climate Change Has Become an ‘Emergency’
Climate change 'has become an emergency that no longer remains at the margins of society'
Pope Francis has expressed more concerns over climate change and has instructed the Holy See to sign the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
In a written message to participants in a conference on Resilience of People and Ecosystems under Climate Stress sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pontiff said humanity must combat climate change by reducing emissions.
He added “assisting and enabling people to adapt to progressively worsening changes to the climate.”
The phenomenon of climate change “has become an emergency that no longer remains at the margins of society,” he asserted.
“Instead, it has assumed a central place, reshaping not only industrial and agricultural systems but also adversely affecting the global human family, especially the poor and those living on the economic peripheries of our world.”
Francis declared that battling climate change is an imperative for Christians, falling under the duty of responsible stewardship of creation.
Care for our common home “is not simply a utilitarian endeavor but a moral obligation for all men and women as children of God,” he proposed.
Repeating his call for “ecological conversion,” the pope said that environmental problems must be addressed “not as isolated individuals but in solidarity as a community.”
Francis went on to underscore his belief that climate change and other environmental issues constitute “severe and increasing problems” for humanity.
In his message, he refrained from mentioning the encouraging environmental news that every year the number of global deaths from severe weather events decreases appreciably and has dropped by nearly 99 percent since the 1920s.
Whereas a century ago, “almost half a million people died on average each year from storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme temperatures,” in 2020, the number dropped to just 14,000, climate expert Bjorn Lomborg noted in the Wall Street Journal last November.
The pope insisted that the most economically advantaged nations must play an important role by “reducing their own emissions and providing financial as well as technological assistance so that less prosperous areas of the world may follow their example.”
“For the above-mentioned reasons, I have recently approved for the Holy See, in the name and on behalf of Vatican City State, to accede to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement,” Francis stated.
Francis also urged European youth to consume less meat in order to preserve the planet and stop global warming.
“There is an urgent need to reduce the consumption not only of fossil fuels but also of so many superfluous things,” the pontiff told participants at an EU youth conference Monday.
“In certain areas of the world, too, it would be appropriate to consume less meat: this too can help save the environment.”
The Pontiff encouraged young people to embrace a life of simplicity and austerity as a means of being ecologically responsible.
“May you aspire to a life of dignity and sobriety, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence,” he told them.
“Don’t let yourselves be seduced by the sirens that propose a life of luxury reserved for a small slice of the world,” he said.