The Catholic Church leader’s remarks were contained in a letter sent to the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), which is being held in Glasgow, UK.
“Unfortunately, we must note with bitterness that we are far from achieving the desired goals to combat climate change and we must honestly say: ‘We cannot allow this,'” the Pope said in a text read by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
The Pope highlighted that the battle of mankind means “a change of the times”, which requires the commitment of everyone, especially the rich countries, who are asked to repay the “environmental debt” contracted with the poorest countries.
According to Francisco, the most prosperous and industrialized nations “should play a leading role in the discussion of climate finance, in decarbonizing the economic system and people’s lives, as well as in promoting a circular economy and supporting the most vulnerable countries.”
This, according to the leader of the Catholic Church, would represent “a real conversion, individual, but also community”, towards a “more integrated and integrated” development model.
Francesco, who dedicated his second general message “Laudato Si”, 2015, to this issue, stated that in this task “special attention” should be paid to the most vulnerable populations, from which arose an “ecological debt”, a duty to “trade imbalances” between the rich and the poor.
According to the Pope, this situation has environmental consequences, due to the disproportionate use of natural resources from the same country or from third parties.
“We cannot deny this,” the leader of the Catholic Church emphasized in the letter sent to COP26.
In addition, the Pope addressed the foreign debts contracted by states to foreign entities, the pressures of which “make part of the development of peoples difficult”.
“The post-pandemic era can and should begin to take into account all these aspects, also associated with the initiation of careful negotiating procedures for the cancellation of external debt, linked to a more sustainable and equitable economic structure, aimed at facing the climate emergency,” Francisco said.
He added, “It is necessary for developed countries to contribute to solving environmental debts, significantly reducing non-renewable energy consumption and contributing resources to the countries most in need, to promote sustainable development policies and programmes.”
Finally, the Pope said there was “no time to wait” because the climate crisis is already causing suffering among the population, especially children. In addition, he asserted, “Soon, there will be more environmental migrants than those fleeing conflicts.”
Referring to COP26 attendees, Francisco concluded that it was “necessary to act urgently, courageously and responsibly” that he did not attend the conference in person “because it was not possible”. EFE
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