Climate, the Pope’s cry: “We are not reacting enough, the world is approaching breaking point”

In the Laudate Deum, Bergoglio’s call: “COP28 is a turning point”

Vatican City, 4 Oct. (Adnkronos) – “The world that welcomes us is crumbling and perhaps is approaching a breaking point”. The Pope, eight years after the social encyclical Laudato Sì, has published a new apostolic exhortation – Laudate Deum – addressed “to all people of good will” – made known today on the day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Bergoglio, eight years later, launches a new alarm: “As time passes, I realize that we don’t react enoughsince the world that welcomes us is crumbling – he writes in the new encyclical – and perhaps is approaching a breaking point”. And intervening is “even more urgent”, he underlines: “It is a global social problem intimately linked to dignity of human life”.

The Pontiff underlines how there is no more time to waste: “As much as we try to deny them, hide them, conceal them or relativize them, the signs of climate change are there, always evident”. The climate crisis, Bergoglio puts it in black and white, “is a silent disease that affects us all”.

“COP28 is a turning point”

Francis looks to the next COP 28 Conference in Dubai and lashes out at the world’s powerful: “If we have faith in the ability of human beings to transcend their small interests and think big, we cannot give up dreaming that COP28 leads to a decisive acceleration of the energy transition, with effective commitments that can be monitored permanently. This Conference can be a turning point, proving that everything that has been done since 1992 was serious and appropriate, otherwise it will be a great disappointment and will put at risk all the good that has been achieved so far”.

Bergoglio speaks of an uphill road with results not to be wasted: “Despite numerous negotiations and agreements, global emissions have continued to grow. It is true that it can be argued that without these agreements they would have grown even more. But on other environmental issues, where there has been the will, very significant results have been achieved, as in the case of the protection of the ozone layer. Instead, the necessary transition towards clean energies, such as wind and solar, abandoning fossil fuels, is not proceeding quickly enough. Consequently, what is being done risks being interpreted only as a distracting game.”

Hence the warning: “We must overcome the logic of appearing sensitive to the problem and at the same time not having the courage to make substantial changes. We know that, at this rate, in a few years we will exceed the maximum desirable limit of 1.5 degrees centigrade and soon we could reach 3 degrees, with a high risk of reaching a critical point. Even if this point of no return were not reached, the effects would be disastrous and measures would have to be taken hastily, with enormous costs and extremely serious and intolerable economic and social consequences. If the measures we adopt now have costs, they will be all the more burdensome the longer we wait.”

“Enough teasing, we need drastic change”

“Let us finally put an end toirresponsible mockery which presents the issue as only environmental, “green”, romantic, often ridiculed for economic interests. Let us finally admit – the Pope writes in Laudate Deum – that this is a human and social problem in a broad sense and at various levels. This requires everyone’s involvement. The actions of so-called “radicalized” groups often attract attention at climate conferences. In reality, they occupy a void in society as a whole, which should exert healthy pressure, because it is up to every family to think that the future of their children is at stake.”

Bergoglio shows the way: “If there is a sincere interest in ensuring that COP28 becomes historic, that it honors and ennobles us as human beings, then we can only expect binding forms of energy transition that have three characteristics: that they are efficient , which are binding and easily monitored. This is in order to start a new process that is drastic, intense and can count on everyone’s commitment. This has not happened in the path taken so far, but only with such a process could the credibility of international politics be restored, because only in this concrete way will it be possible to significantly reduce carbon dioxide and avoid the worst evils in time. We hope that those who speak will be strategists capable of thinking about the common good and the future of their children, rather than the specific interests of some country or company. May they thus show the nobility of politics and not its shame.”

“Contemptuous and unreasonable opinions even in the Church”

Francis also recognizes errors within the Church. “Unfortunately, the climate crisis is not really an issue that interests the great economic powers, who are concerned with obtaining the maximum profit at the lowest cost and in the shortest time possible. I am forced to make these clarifications, which may seem obvious, due to certain contemptuous and unreasonable opinions that I find even within the Catholic Church”.

“But – writes Bergoglio – we can no longer doubt that the reason for the unusual speed of such dangerous changes is an undeniable fact: the enormous developments connected to the unbridled human intervention on nature in the last two centuries. The evolution of average surface temperatures cannot be explained without the effect of increasing greenhouse gases.” The Pontiff observes: “We are just in time to avoid even more dramatic damage.”

“We have become highly dangerous”

The Pope therefore invites us to rethink our use of power: “Not every use of power is progress for humanity. Just think of the ‘wonderful’ technologies that were used to decimate populations, launch atomic bombs, annihilate ethnic groups. There have been moments in history when admiration for progress did not allow us to see the horror of its effects. But this risk is always present.” The Pope lashes consciences: “We must all rethink the question of human power, its meaning and its limits. Our power, in fact, has increased frenetically in just a few decades. We have made impressive and surprising technological progress, and we do not realize that at the same time we have become dangerous, capable of endangering the lives of many beings and our own survival.” Bergoglio writes: “It takes clarity and honesty to recognize in time that our power and the progress we generate are turning against ourselves.”