ROME — Pope Francis sent a message Saturday to the COP28 United Nations climate summit decrying the “unbridled exploitation” of the environment by first world nations.
Climate change “greatly endangers all human beings,” the pontiff said in his sternly worded address, and “time is short” to react to the current ecological crisis.
“It has now become clear that the climate change presently taking place stems from the overheating of the planet,” the pope declared, “caused chiefly by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activity, which in recent decades has proved unsustainable for the ecosystem.”
Due to an “inflammation of the lungs,” the pope was unable to travel personally to Dubai to read his message, so the text was read instead by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
In his address, the pope blamed capitalist greed for the failure to act more decisively to prevent climate change.
“The drive to produce and possess has become an obsession, resulting in an inordinate greed that has made the environment the object of unbridled exploitation,” he said. “The climate, run amok, is crying out to us to halt this illusion of omnipotence.”
We find ourselves facing “firm and even inflexible positions calculated to protect income and business interests,” he declared.
The pope went on to insist that “the footprint of a few nations” is “responsible for a deeply troubling ‘ecological debt’ towards many others.” Therefore, it would “only be fair to find suitable means of remitting the financial debts that burden different peoples, not least in light of the ecological debt that they are owed.”
Along with capitalist greed, the culprits behind climate change also include nationalists who refuse to get with the globalist program, Francis suggested.
“What is the way out of this? It is the one that you are pursuing in these days: the way of togetherness, multilateralism,” he stated.
It is “disturbing that global warming has been accompanied by a general cooling of multilateralism,” the pope proposed, and it is “essential to rebuild trust, which is the foundation of multilateralism.”
Climate change signals the need for political change and “a new multilateralism,” he declared.
“Let us emerge from the narrowness of self-interest and nationalism; these are approaches belonging to the past,” he urged. “Let us join in embracing an alternative vision: this will help to bring about an ecological conversion.”
COP28 should be a “turning point,” he said, leading to “a decisive acceleration of ecological transition” that must include “the elimination of fossil fuels” and transition to renewables.
“To all of you I make this heartfelt appeal: Let us choose life! Let us choose the future!” the pope said. “May we be attentive to the cry of the earth, may we hear the plea of the poor, may we be sensitive to the hopes of the young and the dreams of children!”