Pope Francis: Protecting the planet is an ethical, moral obligation

The vulnerability of the poor and of future generations to the impact of climate change creates a "serious ethical and moral responsibility to act without delay and as free as possible from political and economic pressure" to slow climate change and protect the environment, Pope Francis said.

In a written message to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Pope Francis praised the 100 countries that formally joined the Paris climate agreement adopted last year, but emphasized that implementing the agreement must involve multidisciplinary cooperation and special measures of solidarity with the poor.

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"Technological solutions are necessary, but not sufficient," the pope wrote to the conference, which was meeting Nov. 7-18. Governments must recognize there are "ethical and social aspects" of working for a new model of development that is sustainable and respectful of both the planet and the poor.

"The current situation of environmental degradation," he said, is "strongly connected with human, ethical and social degradation."

Human creativity and intelligence must be devoted to finding ways to promote development that does not harm the environment, he said. But individuals and nations also must be willing to "limit their power" in the service of a new kind of progress, which is "healthier, more human, more social and more integral, capable of putting the economy at the service of the human person, building peace and justice and saving the environment."

Education, particularly in promoting lifestyles and styles of consumption that are more sustainable, also are needed, he said. 

While news coverage of the Marrakech conference focused on questions about the challenge of moving the Paris process forward if President-elect Donald Trump withdraws U.S. support for the agreement, Pope Francis called for the promotion of "a culture of care," not just for the environment, "but also for our neighbors, whether they are close or far off."

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Ray Porter
1 year ago
It is inconceivable to me that we have a pope who is worried about the environment so much when it is clear that the earth has been warming for at least the last 10,000 years without man's help and he looks the other way when 125,000 babies are being put to death each day by their parents. It is just so difficult to understand.
Richard Espinal
1 year ago
Science would suggest otherwise and Pope Francis is not looking the other way, he's looking right at them and all of the future unborn. Protecting the planet is also a pro-life issue.
Ray Porter
1 year ago
The Earth's last warming trend has been going on ever since the beginning of the last glacial retreat 10,000 years ago. Most advocates of man made or anthropogenic warming are also population control advocates and care little about the holocaust going on and would actually prefer more population control. "The "Science says otherwise" because very little research has ever been funded regarding natural mechanisms of warming…it has simply been assumed that global warming is manmade because that is where the grant money, bigger government and political power proliferates. I wish all the anthropogenic climate change advocates would explain to us why the earth's climate has undergone ice ages and glacial retreats thousands of times over the last 2.6 billion years before the current age.

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