Pope Francis urges world leaders to take decisive action on climate change

Pope Francis has thrown his weight behind calls for an end to fossil fuels and lifestyle changes to save the planet in a message delivered at COP28 in Dubai. Despite being unable to attend the summit in person due to illness, the Pope’s speech was read by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, making him the first Pope to address the Conference of the Parties. The Pope emphasized the need for major political change and an ecological transition focused on embracing renewable energy and eliminating fossil fuels. He also called for debt forgiveness for poorer countries impacted by climate change. The President of COP28 acknowledged that the phase-out of fossil fuels is inevitable, despite his company’s expansion in oil production. The Pope criticized attempts to blame the ecological and climate crises on the poor and high birth rates and called on the biggest carbon emitting countries to wipe out the financial debts of poor nations due to their excessive use of fossil fuels. The Pope’s message comes at a crucial time as global discussions on a global stocktake take place at COP28, urging leaders to choose a culture of life over a culture of death.