In a follow-up to his 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si Pope Francis has hit out strongly at those who are still in denial of human-induced global warming and climate change. He has also lambasted irresponsible western lifestyles, pointing to emissions per person in the USA that are seven times greater than those of the poorest in the world.
In the latest document, Laudate Deum, the pope does not hold back on criticism of the land from which much of the opposition to his papacy comes.
“If we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries, we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact,” writes Francis.
He is equally blunt with those who deny the unprecedented impact of human activity upon rising global temperatures:
“In recent years, some have chosen to deride these facts. They bring up allegedly solid scientific data, like the fact that the planet has always had, and will have, periods of cooling and warming… They forget to mention that what we are presently experiencing is an unusual acceleration of warming, at such a speed that it will take only one generation — not centuries or millennia — in order to verify it.”
Commending the progress already made towards meeting past commitments to move away from reliance on fossil fuels, he is nevertheless insistent that the speed of change is not fast enough:
“If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honours and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored… This, in order to achieve the beginning of a new process marked by three requirements: that it be drastic, intense and count on the commitment of all.”
To read the complete document, click here.