We knew he was the People’s Pope, but now he’s officially the Earth’s Pope.
In a new encyclical, Pope Francis explicitly makes the connection between climate change and oppression of the poorest in the world, while also calling an ending to fossil fuels.
The encyclical — which is a letter laying out official Catholic doctrine — was 42, 000 words long and listed many well-argued points about the environment and our responsibility to take care of ourselves, including our planet.
Regarding climate change, the Pope says: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”
Regarding fossil fuels, Pope Francis called for the effective phasing out of fossil fuels including oil, but says the world must decide how to pay for it and that the responsibility belongs to the rich countries “which are more powerful and pollute the most”. He also warns against international agreements which impose too heavy a burden on developing countries.
The Pope also affirms that accessibility to safe, clean drinking water is a “basic and universal human right” and therefore “they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”
In regards to extinction and endangered species, he says, “Each year we see the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity…We have no such right.”
Other highlights include:
- Politicians must now agree an “urgent” plan for “drastic” reductions in carbon emissions.
- People must also be prepared to make simple changes to their lifestyles such as turning off lights and taking the bus to only cooking enough food to eat.
- The Pope calls for fossil fuels to be “progressively replaced without delay.”
There was naturally a lot of hype surrounding the Pope’s encyclical, and, so, naturally, some funny people made a Hollywood trailer-spoof on Pope Francis. It’s pretty funny with some great quotes (“Nature never forgets. If you slap it, it will slap you back.”)
You can watch it, here: