AFPKardinal Parolin, the second in command of the Vatican, at the climate summit
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:45
Pope Francis calls on world leaders to make a breakthrough at the climate summit in Dubai, “because the climate is going crazy.” “Let us choose life, let us choose the future. Let us listen to the cry of the earth, and listen to the plea of the poor, and let us respond to the hopes and dreams of our children,” sounds the Pope’s call.
The 86-year-old Pope would have liked to address the world leaders present himself, but is suffering from bronchitis, which means he cannot leave the Vatican. Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin, the highest administrator of the Roman Catholic Church after the Pope, delivered his words. “I am with you more than ever, because our future depends on what we choose now. I am with you because the destruction of the environment is a crime against God.”
The Pope further calls climate change a global social challenge, one closely linked to questions about a dignified life. “I am here to ask you the question we must answer now: Are we committed to a culture of life or a culture of death?”
He says it is clear that global warming is mainly due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due to human activity “which has proven unsustainable for the ecosystem in recent decades”. “The urge to produce and own has become an obsession. It has led to excessive greed that has made the environment a target for unbridled exploitation.”
Vatican correspondent Andrea Vreede:
“Pope Francis is terribly sorry that he cannot be there and the organization is also very sorry. American climate envoy John Kerry visited him in the Vatican to insist that he come to Dubai. In addition to this speech, he should have had thirty bilateral meetings with all kinds of government leaders and heads of state. The hope was that he could have won people over with his moral authority.
This pope is often called the green pope. He also took the name of the saint who was most concerned with the environment: Francis of Assisi. But even more than green, he is a social pope: from the start of his papacy, he has linked climate change with social injustice, with inequality between rich and poor. Just like today in his speech.
Francis wrote his first important encyclical in 2015, entitled Laudato Si’. It was published at the insistence of politicians just before the Paris climate summit. According to insiders, that text and the diplomatic efforts of the Vatican delegation contributed to making the summit a success. In anticipation of Dubai, he wrote the letter Laudate Deum: in it he wipes the floor with anyone who does not believe that climate change is happening. He says: ‘It can’t go on like this, we are at a breaking point’. He is giving world leaders and climate deniers, including within his own Church, a big turn around.”
To combat climate change, the Pope calls on the world to continue the energy transition and “eliminate fossil fuels.” He also believes that people should do something about their wasteful lifestyle. “I hope this summit is a turning point, one that shows that political will can lead to an acceleration of the ecological transition.”
The Pope also reflected on the difference between poor and rich countries. Especially because the richer, developed countries with their emissions are also responsible for climate problems in poorer countries. “The poor are the real victims of what is happening: we must reflect on the plight of indigenous peoples, deforestation and the tragedy of hunger, and water shortages, and forced migration.”
Following on from one of the key talking points of this summit – financing for poorer countries – the Pope pointed to richer countries. “We must reflect on the footprint of the few countries responsible for the disturbing ‘ecological debt’ of many other countries. It would be fair to find appropriate means to cancel those countries’ financial debt,” the Pope said.