Despite growing recognition of climate change as a legitimate and looming threat, current commitments to mitigate its effects and alter human behaviour fall short of those needed to resolve the crisis in time, Pope Francis said.
“We must admit that this awareness is still rather weak, unable to respond adequately to that strong sense of urgency for rapid action called for by the scientific data at our disposal,” the pope has said in a message to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP25.
The conference is being held in Madrid from 2nd to 13th December, and the Vatican released a copy of the pope’s message today, 4th December.
The conference aims to take crucial steps in the UN climate change process and to identify effective strategies for implementing the Paris Agreement, a framework of action against climate change adopted by the UN on 12th December 2015.
However, studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “demonstrate how far words are from concrete actions,” the pope said.
According to the intergovernmental panel, global temperatures and emissions continue to rise and humanity is not on course to fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2020.
“We must seriously ask ourselves if there is the political will to allocate with honesty, responsibility and courage, more human, financial and technological resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” Pope Francis said.
The pope also affirmed that numerous studies show how curbing global warming is still possible.
This closing window of opportunity “calls us to reflect conscientiously on the significance of our consumption and production models and on the processes of education and awareness to make them consistent with human dignity,” he said.
“We are facing a ‘challenge of civilisation’ in favour of the common good and of a change of perspective that places this same dignity at the centre of our action,” the pope said.
He called on the current generation of international leaders and regular citizens to act, rather than allow the burden to fall on the next generations.
“We should give them the opportunity to remember our generation as the one that renewed and acted on – with honest, responsible and courageous awareness – the fundamental need to collaborate in order to preserve and cultivate our common home,” Pope Francis said.
“May we offer the next generation concrete reasons to hope and work for a good and dignified future,” he said.
Picture: Video segments play during the opening of the UN Climate Action Summit. (CNS photo/Lucas Jackson, Reuters).