This year, Pope Francis is set to give it a go in fighting global warming and make the Catholics aware of the threat that climate change poses to poorer nations. To accomplish his goals, the pontiff plans to co-opt all his bishops, pull some strings into the UN general assembly and invite all world religious leaders to a global summit.
Pope Francis would do all these during one year because he is determined to get a positive result for our planet in the major climate change meeting scheduled to take place in Paris in December.
The first step towards reaching his ambitious goals would be a lengthy message addressed to all Catholic bishops and their subordinate priests urging them to raise awareness on climate change among their parishioners. The message would be composed as a papal encyclical and it is expected to reach the hearths and minds of nearly 1.2 billion Catholics across the globe.
Dan Misleh, chief of the Catholic Climate Covenant, said that the pope would certainly face a strong opposition from a small group of people who are being very vocal since they are backed up by the polluting industry and covered by politicians. Mr. Misleh also said that the encyclical would bring arguments “around economics and science, rather than morality.”
This might have something to do with the fact that the pontiff has a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and thus has an insider’s view on how greenhouse gases increase world temperatures.
“A papal encyclical is rare. It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal. But there is a contingent of Catholics here who say he should not be getting involved in political issues, that he is outside his expertise,”
Mr. Misleh also said.
Bishop Marcelo Sorondo said that despite all opposition and criticism the pope should make his moves without second thoughts since the stakes are high and time is very short. In December, during the Paris summit, world’s political leaders plan to reach a final agreement on cutting down emissions after 20 years of sterile debates and procrastination.
Bishop Sorondo also emphasized the importance of a general religious summit until then. Such meeting would aim at convincing leaders of the main religions to raise awareness in their countries about the state of our climate and its footprint on poorer communities.
World Health Organization (WHO) released in August a report showing that between 2030 and 2050 poor countries would count about 250.000 deaths per year related to climate change. In those countries, people would die from by-products of global warming such as malnutrition, heat stress, malaria and diarrhoea, WHO experts warned.
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