Pope Francis issues new call for world leaders to act on the climate emergency

A tract of the Amazon jungle in Porto Velho, Brazil, burns as it is cleared by loggers and farmers Aug. 24, 2019. (CNS photo/Ueslei Marcelino, Reuters)

As the fires in the Amazon region continue to blaze, Pope Francis today issued a new message in which he reminds the world and its political and civil leaders that “we have caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself, including our own.”

In the message, which the Vatican released today, he calls for “prophetic action” and “prayer” by Christians and people of good will. He said, “Our prayers and appeals are directed first at raising the awareness of political and civil leaders” and getting them to take urgent action. The pope said he was thinking especially of “those governments that will meet in coming months to renew commitments decisive for directing the planet towards life, not death.”


Pope Francis said that the forthcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit “is of particular importance.” The summit is aimed at accelerating actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Another upcoming climate conference is COP25, which will be held in Chile in December this year and will bring together world leaders (in government, civil society, the private sector and environmental organizations) to call for more ambitious action on climate change.

Pope Francis described how “egoism and self-interest” have created the “climate emergency” by turning creation, “a place of encounter and sharing,” into “an arena of competition and conflict.” He noted that there is “urgent need for interventions that can no longer be postponed.”

The pope said, “Now is the time to rediscover our vocation as children of God, brothers and sisters, and stewards of creation. Now is the time to repent, to be converted and to return to our roots.”

He issued his message on Sept.1, the day the Catholic Church worldwide is celebrating the fifth World Day of Prayer for Creation. He said this is an ecumenical venture together with the other Christian churches, and especially with the Orthodox churches that started this initiative 30 years ago. But, he explained, it is no longer “one day” of prayer and reflection, but rather “a Season of Creation” that begins on Sept. 1 and ends on Oct.4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. He called on Christians to use this period as a season to “reflect on our lifestyles” and how they affect the environment.

The pope referred to the upcoming Amazon synod when he called for Christians to “learn to listen to indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment.” He described the synod and the governmental meetings as “opportunities to respond to the cry of the poor and of our earth.”

In his message, Pope Francis also called for the voices of young people to be heard on the climate emergency. He noted that “many young people all over the world are making their voices heard and calling for courageous decisions.” He might have been thinking of young people like Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student whom he met in the Vatican last April 17. He added, “the young remind us that the earth is not a possession to be squandered, but an inheritance to be handed down.”

“They remind us that hope for tomorrow is not a noble sentiment, but a task calling for concrete actions here and now,” he said. “We owe them real answers, not empty words, actions not illusions.”

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E.Patrick Mosman
2 weeks 4 days ago

To the Vatican scientists,if any,
One hopes that Pope Francis and his science advisers take the
opportunity to review the testimony of the experts and seek their advise
and counsel before making pronouncements climate change,nee global warming,
based on pseudo-science.
"The House Science, Space and Technology Committee
heard from scientists who poked holes in the prevailing catastrophic
theory of man-made climate change and said researchers are under
pressure to support more alarming scenarios."
“The science is not settled, no,” said Roger Pielke Sr., professor emeritus in meteorology at Colorado State University.
University of Sussex economist Richard Tol told the lawmakers, “Science is, of course, never settled.”
“Some things are more or less settled, some things are not,” said
Princeton University geoscientist Michael Oppenheimer. “The question of
whether carbon dioxide is 30 to 40 percent above pre-industrial times,
that’s settled. The question of exactly how warm the Earth will become
as a result, that’s not.”
Daniel Botkin, professor emeritus in biology at the
University of California, Santa Barbara, said the U.N. panel’s 2014
report and the White House National Climate Assessment are
“scientific-sounding,” but also present “speculative, and sometimes
incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more
scientific heft than they deserve.”
“I want to state upfront that we have been living
through a warming trend driven by a variety of influences,” said Mr.
Botkin. “However, it is my view that this is not unusual, and contrary
to the characterizations by the IPCC and the National Climate
Assessment, these environmental changes are not apocalyptic nor
Even the President of the IPCC has
admitted publicly that there has been no warming for 18 years despite a
slight increase in CO2.
From a theological standpoint does the
Pope and his science advisers truly believe that the Creator of the
Universe and all that is in it would have allowed CO2 the life blood of
of the earth, exhaled by every living, breathing creatures and absorbed
by trees and vegetation to provide the O2, oxygen, needed by all living
,breathing creatures to destroy the earth?

Stanley Kopacz
2 weeks 3 days ago

Right now, H2O, needed by every living creature on earth, is destroying the Bahamas. You are illogical.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

And so It also did 10 thousand years ago.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

Please take your insanity elsewhere. Science not only points to climate change, but plainly shows that it is anthropogenic. 99% of climate scientists agree. It is science, and it is science that is compatible with theology. Moreover the assertion that "the Creator" wouldn't let it happen is contrary to basic theology. If God gives humanity free will, certainly humanity has the free will to destroy creation contrary to God's wishes.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

It was 97% not 99% and that was a phony study. It’s even been cited by the editors here who didn’t know it was a fake study. Maybe the insanity is believing fake or unproven claims.

Oz Jewel
2 weeks 3 days ago

Dionys Murphy Arrogant ignorance is far worse than insanity.

The hysterical pronouncements that life on earth is in urgent danger of destruction by the direct actions of humans using fossil fuels for modern living is a bald faced lie. It is impossible for man to destroy the earth by carbon dioxide because carbon dioxide does not control the variations of the climate of the earth.

Carbon dioxide rises and falls in the air AFTER the temperature rises or falls due to all the other causes which are extra-terrestrial - sun, planet orbits, magnetic fields, cosmic rays.

The current thinking is concentrated on the sun-spot cycle which was associated with cooling of the planet at least once in recorded human history when the Vikings were driven out of Greenland.
I am not declaring settled science in this, but heeding the best evidence. It is due, which decade it strikes and how cold it gets in not yet clear.

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 4 days ago

It’s sad to say but in all honesty it just doesn’t seem like Pope Francis is very smart...

Stanley Kopacz
2 weeks 3 days ago

If he's not smart, what does that make you. You're the one that disagrees with every legitimate scientific society including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Physics and the American Meteorological Society.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

Appeals to authority is a logical fallacy. I can point to another area of science where the science community all agree and for which their reasons for doing so defy science and reason.

Stanley Kopacz
2 weeks 3 days ago


J Cosgrove
2 weeks 4 days ago

I thought the Amazon fires hysteria were fake news. Yes, they exist but they exist every year so this year is nothing new.

Stanley Kopacz
2 weeks 3 days ago

These fires are lit purposely to clear Amazon rainforest, destroying treasures of biodiversity, creation, if you prefer. We're way past hysteria.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

I thought you gave up reading America.

You distorted the relevance of the fires. It may not be the best idea but the current hysteria about them is fake. Even the editors of America admit that.

Christopher Lochner
2 weeks 3 days ago

Yes, but doesn't this come from the age-old wisdom of the indigenous people and the slash and burn technique of ecology? Or perhaps the indigenous people who realize an excessive population is likely to overwhelm the local environment and so reproduce at a sustainable rate?... I believe Francis is in error because he calls for concrete action but he, himself offers no concrete solution except by way of simplistic platitudes, as in, we must all be one with the planet. If he suggests we need action then why don't we hear his ideas?? ...Most articles scream for action but rarely suggest meaningful action. When was the last time you've read of a carbon tax, or of non-carbon based nuclear energy? It reminds me of parish council meetings where everyone acts so very important but no one says or does anything of importance, but darn can they talk.... The problem is that very few people have ideas while most people sell themselves and books or are into worldwide theatrics like Greta. But, at least she'll parlay this into a large wad of cash. What else is there at the end of the day? Real problems being solved by foolish people equates to doom.

Oz Jewel
2 weeks 3 days ago

Christopher, I think you will find that the tribes living in the Amazon before European arrival were not up to the stage of agriculture and animal husbandry but lived as hunters and gatherers.
The land being burned is land being used for crops and domestic animal production according to methods long practised in some Eurasian areas since Old Testament times.

Patrick Lynch
2 weeks 3 days ago

Can you post a link to the actual statement from the pope?

Oz Jewel
2 weeks 3 days ago

Almighty God took billions of years to prepare just one planet to give rise to carbon based material life and created an immense orchestra of supportive living creatures to maintain it as habitable for the people made in his image and likeness.

We have no idea what it was like when it functioned as Eden with sinless Adam and Eve but we do know that it was irreversibly changed when they disobeyed his one limit to their liberty.

We are not in charge of the planet, we have been given no order concerning its maintenance or repair, just to increase and multiply and fill the face of the earth. He remains Lord, Sovereign.

Below is a link to a copy of the message.

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 3 days ago

I read it and it’s actually worse than I thought. It’s s jumbled meaningless word salad that quite frankly is embarrassing to read, it sounds like something an 8th grader would write. I would like to ask the Holy Father if the progress of industrial western society over the last 200-300 years is so evil why are so many refugees from South America wanting to crash the southern US border to come here? Why are they not migrating to the Amazon? You know...to rediscover themselves. Why are all the refugees from Africa and the Middle East taking dangerous boat journeys to try and get into Western European countries? Why don’t they just head to the Sudan to seek a better life? How did western society bring so many people out of poverty and into prosperity and longevity ? By being evil and greedy??? Is there nothing good in the West? Honestly this is embarrassing and disturbing to read.

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 3 days ago


J Cosgrove
2 weeks 2 days ago

Fires in the world have been declining. More fake news by the NY Times and CNN. This is just another scare by the left and apparently a lot of people bought it. http://bit.ly/2krUZo2

Forget The Amazon Hype, Fires Globally Have Declined 25% Since 2003 Thanks To Economic Growth

Douglas Fang
2 weeks 2 days ago

The usual suspects – a small and smaller group of die-hard climate change deniers continue to hang on to their delusional opposition despite the overwhelming observations and facts about that this is happening and accelerating. Even the majority of Republicans now believe climate change is serious and mostly caused by human activities, especially the younger ones.

Even Rick Perry just recently accepted that! (Whoop! A mistake from a low IQ guy… ha ha…)

I just came back from my 3rd Alaska cruise. I took this cruise 12 and 6 years ago. Every time I came back there, I could see quite clearly the effect of global warming in Alaska. The glaciers are receding faster and faster. The temperature was quite a lot warmer throughout the whole trip compared to the last 2 trips. This is just a small personal anecdote.

Your arguments to deny this fact are similar to those of the Young Earth Creationists based on my own experience with my friends and co-workers. Who take them serious these days?

rose-ellen caminer
1 week 6 days ago

Tough I appreciate the Pope's jumping on this bandwagon; for it is always good for nations and peoples to be coming together as a united humanity for a cause like common good housekeeping[ clean water and air, good spoil], rather then being divided by conflict and competition , i don't buy the sky is falling propaganda. ;I am a man made climate change, denier. I think it is a millennial apocalyptic hysteria. it occur ever thousand years or so[lol] This one though not couched in christian theology, but science. is its own religion [in this time of none's, of secularism, of Cultural Christians , it takes the place of a religion ;it is as fanatic, as driven as totalizing as any religious movement ever has been.
When the summers become winters and the winters become summer, i will then say the climate has changed. Catastrophic weather events have always been occurring.[ and "a change is the weather is always extreme'".Carbon is turned int oxygen by plants and trees. That there is some catastrophic imbalance; evidence in every weather event,observations of changes in topographies [ ice sheets, erosion ,] due to man made carbon emissions since the industrial revolution, is a belief; an implicit bias.These changes are always occurring and fixating on carbon emissions is an implicit bias, an ideology.how it got started; a few scientist proposed it; [ as a hunch, an intuition whatever]and the meme spread ; it became popular; the everyday problems of the world don't concern us; we have bigger fish to fry; a totalizing scenario,all of life on the planet; a grandiose above the fray hobby, and obsession. one that like the second coming of Christ can always be put off into the future; this catastrophe that is man made climate change. .Now if you don't buy it, you are a science heretic.
Burning fossil fuels is like sweeping your house; it gets rid of earths decayed organic matter. ,and we get much needed energy from it. fossil fuels are God's gift to humanity; it enhances life, .
this belief that there are not enough trees any more, and so the balance of carbon/oxygen is upset, can be remedied by planting more trees. To fixate on carbon as some toxic to life chemical when it is part of the symbiotic relation of life on earth, is anti science!

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