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Pope Francis Appoints German Climate Change Expert to Vatican’s Science Academy

Pope Francis has appointed Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a prominent German climate change expert, to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the goal of which is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences.

The appointment of Schellnhuber, director of the Institute for Climate Impact in Potsdam, Germany, was announced at the Vatican Information Service on Wednesday.

According to the Holy See’s press office, Pope Francis will present his encyclical, titled Laudato Si, on the Care of Our Common Home, on Thursday in Vatican City. Speaking at the press conference will be Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; His Eminence Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church; and Schellnhuber.

The Guardian recently reported on a leaked draft of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and climate change, which shows that the Pontiff believes global warming is a very serious problem. He will “call for changes in lifestyle and energy consumption to avert the ‘unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem’ before the end of this century.” Additionally, he will urge the creation of a “global political authority tasked with ‘tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions.’”

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