Vatican Cardinal: Time to Stage an ‘Intervention’ to Stop Climate Change

Ghanaian cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson attends the signature of the "Global Freedom Network" agreement between representatives of Catholic church, the Anglican church and Sunni University Al-Azhar to fight against "modern forms of slavery and human trafficking," on March 17, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo …
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THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

A top Vatican cardinal is urging nations to put an end to the “fossil fuel era” and to stage an “intervention” against climate change.

In a dramatic message to the “scientific community” Friday, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said that the world is undergoing a veritable “climate crisis, caused by man’s interference in nature.”

“The climate crisis is reaching unprecedented proportions. Therefore, the urgency could not be greater,” the cardinal said.

Warning that “we have only around a decade to limit this global warming,” Turkson said that the nations of the world must limit temperature increases to 1.5°C, which he called “a critical physical threshold, inasmuch as it would still enable the avoidance of many destructive impacts of climate changes caused by man.”

“In particular, it would probably safeguard our common home from becoming a ‘greenhouse,’” he said.

We “are already witnessing the grave impact of climate changes on people, in terms of extreme meteorological conditions, such as drought, flooding, rising sea level, devastating storms and ferocious fires,” he said, and the climate crisis “is reaching unprecedented proportions.”

The natural world “is coming to pieces,” the cardinal said, and adults must listen to young people whose future is threatened and who “demand change.”

Young people are calling for “the urgent transition to renewable energy sources” as well as “an end to the era of fossil fuels,” he said, as manifested by their climate strikes and demonstrations.

“It is time to organize an intervention,” he said.

“We will all have to make a radical change in our lifestyle: the use of energy, consumption, transport, industrial production, construction, agriculture, etc. Each of us is called to act,” he said.

The cardinal also warned that there are “powerful interests that hinder our meaningful collective response to this unprecedented threat against our civilization,” and these interests must be defeated.

“Drastic measures to change course” are needed now, he said.

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