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The Pope insists on a global climate pact

A lecturer at Comillas analyses the Pope's proposals to halt the climate catastrophe


3 January 2024

On multiple occasions, Pope Francis has called on world leaders to do something about the looming climate catastrophe, and for agreements to halt global warming by eliminating fossil fuels. The latest was at the COP28 last December, which he was unable to attend due to health problems. "The future of all of us depends on the present that we now choose," the pontiff said. "The destruction of the environment is an offence to God."

Jesús Sánchez-Camacho, director of the Integral Ecology Unit at Comillas, recalled, in a recent article in The Conversation, which has had a high impact with more than 14,000 views and which has been reproduced in the media in several countries, the imperative need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, and 84% by 2050. And she highlighted the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which calls for systemic transformations in the energy sector, industry, buildings, agriculture and forestry.

In addition, Sánchez-Camacho highlights "the implementation of a loss and damage fund to compensate the countries most vulnerable to climate change", and the intention to move towards the end of fossil fuels, because "this is the first time that this last measure has been approved at a climate summit". For this reason, he is also calling for a decisive plan of action towards an integral ecology, a concept formulated by the Pope in the Encyclical Laudato si', which is complemented by the document On Care for the Common Home, "which delved into the anthropological, social and spiritual implications of the interaction of human beings with their environmental reality".

The Pope has placed the defence of the environment in a very prominent place in his ten years of pontificate. In his message to COP28 delegates, he insisted that "it is essential that there be a breakthrough that is not a partial change of course", that "demonstrates a clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of the ecological transition". He reminded them that "the gap between the opulent few and the masses of the poor has never been wider", and called for debt cancellation for poor countries, which are less responsible for greenhouse gases but suffer more than advanced countries.

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