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Time for climate change prevention is running out, warns Pope

By Cian Molloy - 17 June, 2019

“It is the poor who suffer the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”

Pope Francis (Photo: Vatican Media)

Pope Francis has called on oil company CEOs to make radical changes, saying climate change resulting from the consumption of fossil fuels “threatens the very future of the human family”.

The Pope was addressing a summit meeting, organised by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, on Friday, entitled The Vatican Dialogues: The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home. Some of the summit delegates were energy industry business leaders.

Pope Francis pointed to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned of catastrophic effects if the average global climate increases by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report warned that only one decade or so remains in order to achieve this confinement of global warming.

“We must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations,” said the Pontiff. “It is the poor who suffer the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”

The Pope’s address had three key points: the need for a just transition to renewable energy sources; the introduction of carbon pricing so that the polluter pays; and greater transparency in the reporting of the risks and effects of climate change on whole populations of people.

If the transition to renewable energy generation is done in a just and sustainable way, it will generate new jobs, reduce inequality and improve the quality of life of all, especially those already affected by climate change, the Pope said.

But he noted that time is running out. “Deliberations must now go beyond mere exploration of what can be done, and concentrate on what needs to be done.”

He concluded: “The climate crisis requires our decisive action, here and now, and the Church is fully committed to playing her part. There is still hope and there remains time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, provided there is prompt and resolute action.”

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