Pope Francis has issued a fervent call for immediate and binding action on climate change in his latest apostolic exhortation, “Laudate Deum,” published on October 4, 2023. The Argentine pontiff’s plea comes ahead of the COP28 global climate meeting scheduled to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12. The Pope’s message is a continuation of his longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship, which was first prominently featured in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si.”
A Binding Energy Transition
In the 12-page document, written in Spanish and translated into several languages, Pope Francis expressed his growing concern about the lack of adequate response to the escalating climate crisis. “As time goes by, I see that we do not have enough reactions as the world that welcomes us collapses and perhaps approaches a breaking point,” he stated. The Pope emphasized the need for a “binding” energy transition at the upcoming COP28 meeting, urging for commitments that are “effective, obligatory, and easily controlled.”
The Pope’s call for a binding energy transition has been echoed by various environmental organizations and experts. According to a report by Indybay, “Laudate Deum” serves as a follow-up to “Laudato Si,” the Pope’s comprehensive encyclical on climate and the environment. The document urges international cooperation to tackle environmental crises and is seen as a significant step in galvanizing global action.
Criticism of Inaction and Denial
Pope Francis did not mince words when criticizing those who have downplayed or denied the devastating impacts of climate change. He took aim at individuals and groups, including some within the Catholic Church, who have “tried to mock” the scientific consensus on global warming. The Pope’s frustration with the lack of progress since the release of “Laudato Si” was also highlighted in a piece by Religion News Service, which noted that there has been little advancement in addressing the issue of global warming.
Mitigation Over Adaptation
The Pope also delved into the ongoing debate between mitigation and adaptation strategies for dealing with climate change. He firmly sided with mitigation, stating that the transition to clean energies like wind and solar is not happening quickly enough. Pope Francis warned against the risk of focusing solely on adaptation, describing it as a “homicidal pragmatism” that only serves to perpetuate the problem.
A Timely Release
The release of “Laudate Deum” coincides with the opening of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which will discuss various current issues within the Catholic Church, including the role of women and LGBTQ believers. The timing is also significant as it falls on the feast of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, to whom the text is dedicated.
Global Impact and Historical Context
The Pope’s previous encyclical, “Laudato Si,” had a profound impact on global discussions about climate change and even prompted commentary in scientific journals. It was followed by the historic Paris Agreement, which aimed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, the Pope’s latest document indicates that much more needs to be done. As NBC Chicago reports, the Pope seeks to contextualize the state of play in 2023 when it comes to climate change and the energy transition.