Pope Francisco. – AFP
Pope Francis on Saturday called on the U.N. climate summit to strive for a decisive deal essential to stopping global warming that includes phasing out fossil fuels, saying the climate has “spinned out of control.”
The 86-year-old Pope was scheduled to attend the conference, but lung inflammation forced him to remain in the Vatican. His entire speech was left to the delegates and Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin shortened it to respect the three-minute limit for speeches.
“Unfortunately I cannot be present with you, as I had so desired. Even so, I am with you, because time is short,” Francis said in his message.
“I am with you because now more than ever the future of all of us depends on the present that we now choose. I am with you because the destruction of the environment is an offense to God,” he said.
Francis has made environmental advocacy an important part of the social teaching of his 10-year papacy, writing two major documents on the topic, in 2015 and last October.
Francis returned to the main themes of both writings, but in his message to COP28 delegates he appealed directly to them, saying that “it is essential that there be progress that is not a partial change of course” in Dubai.
“May this COP prove to be a turning point, demonstrating clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of the ecological transition,” he said.
To achieve this, he said, it is necessary to move decisively towards greater energy efficiency, renewable energy, the “elimination of fossil fuels” and a change in wasteful lifestyles.
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