Pope Francis wrote in his recent apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum about his concerns for the climate and hopes for action at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai in December. The following article was published in the November-December 2023 issue of NewsNotes.
Pope Francis said he will attend the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, becoming the first pontiff to address such a high-level summit. One month earlier, on Oct. 4, the pope released Laudate Deum, a 13-page follow-up to Laudato Si, teaching about the urgency of the climate crisis and the ways the annual UN conferences need to be more effective.
The following quotes from Laudate Deum insight highlights the pope’s concerns and hopes for the climate and COP28.
Gravity of the Climate Crisis and Its Effect on People
Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here …. No one can ignore the fact that in recent years we have witnessed extreme weather phenomena, frequent periods of unusual heat, drought and other cries of protest on the part of the earth that are only a few palpable expressions of a silent disease that affects everyone. LD5
It is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons….. in the areas of healthcare, sources of employment, access to resources, housing, forced migrations, etc. LD2
The World Must Respond with Urgency
Eight years have passed since I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’…. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. LD2
The Climate Solution Must Be Global and Multilateral
The most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level. LD69
…. a multilateralism that is not dependent on changing political conditions or the interests of a certain few. LD35
…a multilateralism “from below” and not simply one determined by the elites of power. LD38
Hope for COP28
If we are confident in the capacity of human beings to transcend their petty interests and to think in bigger terms, we can keep hoping that COP28 will allow for a decisive acceleration of energy transition, with effective commitments subject to ongoing monitoring. This Conference can represent a change of direction, showing that everything done since 1992 was in fact serious and worth the effort. LD54
Listen to Grassroot Voices
The demands that rise up from below throughout the world, where activists from very different countries help and support one another, can end up pressuring the sources of power. It is to be hoped that this will happen with respect to the climate crisis LD38
Oversight, Reviews and Penalties are Needed
The Paris Agreement presents a broad and ambitious objective LD48.
But the accords have been poorly implemented, due to lack of suitable mechanisms for oversight, periodic review and penalties in cases of noncompliance. The principles which they proclaimed still await an efficient and flexible means of practical implementation. LD 52
Speed Up the Transition to Clean Energy, Abandon Fossil Fuels
The transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed. LD55
If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honors and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored. ….. that it be drastic, intense and count on the commitment of all. … only in this concrete manner will it be possible to reduce significantly carbon dioxide levels and to prevent even greater evils over time. LD 59
The Loss and Damage Fund Must Work
The effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, at home or around the world. LD3
[The previous UN climate change conference] marked a step forward in consolidating a system for financing “loss and damage” in countries most affected by climate disasters. Yet ….many points remained imprecise, above all the concrete responsibility of the countries that have to contribute. LD50
The Powerful Beware
To the powerful, I can only repeat this question: “What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so? LD60
We must move beyond the mentality of appearing to be concerned but not having the courage needed to produce substantial changes. LD56
Faith in action
Sign the faith letter for a comprehensive Loss and Damage Fund at https://mogc.info/L-D